Anyway... that's the rationale, so here we go with the Young Adult Category.
And so, after a long journey we arrive at the final category of this year's Grunter Awards - Young Adult. Now, deciding what is and isn't a Young Adult novel can be a tricky old business. In this case I've used two criteria to decide what fits in this category. Firstly, if an author calls it a Young Adult novel, then I'm pretty much inclined to believe him/her and I will place it in this category. Secondly, if I'm reading the book and it seems to be pitched toward Young Adults, then I'll slot it in here as well.
Anyway... that's the rationale, so here we go with the Young Adult Category.
Yay! Well, I'm back from an incredibly peaceful week in the sleepy, rural, village of Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, The Philippines and it is time to wrap up these wonderful 2017 iteration of the Grunter Awards for excellence in Indie Authors.
This category is one that I am genuinely in awe of the authors who write in this genre. As a kid, I grew up loving and reading Robert A Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. Since then have always been fascinated by people who have the vision to see the future and more importantly to put it down on paper.
I've read some super Sci/Fi this year, so without further ado here are the nominations for this year's Science Fiction Grunter.
And so we come to another one of the big categories in this year's Grunter Awards for Excellence in Indie Publishing - Romance/Adventure. Almost every book has a romantic interest, but here, in this category I've tried to refine the choices to those books that principally promote romance as the main theme of the story. Naturally, therefore, you'll probably find some Chick-Lit in here, but since I've become a big fan of quality Chick-Lit, I make no apologies for that. So, who made it this year and why? Let's find out, shall we?
Today we enter the serious world of memoirs and "how-to" books. I've read a fair selection of them this year and some memoirs touched me deeply, while some "how to" books gave me great ideas and inspiration. Certainly, from my perspective, as a writer, I can understand how hard writing "How to" books can be. At what level of understanding do you pitch it? It can be very easy to overestimate your reader's understanding of the subject. Kudos to those who write in this category. Similarly, memoirs, especially the painful ones, although cathartic for the author, must also be very trying - reliving that pain as you put it on paper. An excellent category and some great nominees, so let's get into it.
Today. we come to another of the big categories - Mystery/Mayhem. This category covers a wide variety of sin, but suffice it to say if the intent of your book is principally to outline and solve a mystery, or it involves a heap of violence, maiming and/or killing, there's a fairly good chance it ended up in this category. There have been some wonderful books I've read this year in this category, but here are the three that had the biggest impression on me.
As a reader and especially as a professional reviewer, I am required to read all sorts of genres and that's a good thing, for me especially. The downside of that, though, is I do end up reading some pretty hard-hitting, violent and often depressing stories, especially some of the memoirs. It is lovely to occasionally come across a book that has no pretensions other than to be funny.
Writing humour is very difficult and I am in awe of the three nominees in this category. I only wish I had half their wit (although that could make me a half-wit, of course).
Anyway, it is with great pleasure I present the nominees for this year's Grunter Awards in the Humour Category.
Today we arrive at Historical Fiction, my favourite category, for two reasons; firstly, as a reader it is my favourite go-to genre. I adore well-written, accurate, historical fiction. I remember my daughter asking me one day, "how come you know so much, about so many things?" My answer was simple - "I read a lot, but also, I read a lot of historical fiction, so I know something about pretty much all periods of history." The second reason I love historical fiction is because it is always such a tightly contested category, with some superb authors vying for the Grunter Award. I'm pleased to say, this year is no exception.
Okay, so now it is time to dip our toes into the "dark side" and take a look at the best erotica books I've read this past year. I know some authors look down their noses at erotica writers, but the reality, for me anyway, is that good writing is good writing, whatever the genre and one thing is for sure - there are only so many ways any writer can describe an orgasm and still maintain some freshness and interest in the story. In that respect, a fine erotica writer will stand out from the morass. That's what I hope I'm highlighting here, some very fine erotica authors. The other thing, of course to consider, if there wasn't a market for erotica - people wouldn't write erotic novels. There is - and they do, so on with the show.
Until the last few years, fantasy was not a genre I generally would read. Science Fiction, certainly, but fantasy, not so much. I'm glad I've dipped my toes in the water and tried the genre. There is so much scope for writers' imaginations and I am frequently blown away by the sheer brilliance of some of the stories I have read.
This year was no exception and trying to even choose the top three books to nominate in this category, was an absolute nightmare. There are some fantastic books that have missed out, but at the end of the day, that's what I'm here to do - to choose the three fantasy novels that have touched me the most this year, so without further ado, here are my nominations for Excellence in Indie Publishing for 2017, for the Fantasy category:
Today's category in the third annual Grunter Awards is none other than Dystopian Fiction.
DYSTOPIAN? What on earth is that? Well, I have to admit up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea myself, but now (due to all my reading, of course) I am a much more learned fellow. Dystopian Fiction - what is it? When in doubt about these things, one must always go to the ORACLE - The great Wikipedia, of course. So, here is Wikipedia's description of Dystopian Fiction:
"Dystopian fiction (sometimes referred to as apocalyptic literature) is the creation of an utterly horrible or degraded futuristic society that is generally headed to an irreversible oblivion, or dystopia. They are often metaphors for the different directions humanity can take in its choices."
NOW YOU KNOW - IT'S ON WITH SHOW!
Today's nominations come from the genre we call "Contemporary Literature". Now, what is contemporary literature? I hear some of you asking. Well, frankly, your guess is as good as mine. For me, as a reader and more specifically as a reviewer, contemporary literature is any book that doesn't fit into the other categories I designed when I started reviewing. I'm sure there is a much more technical definition of contemporary literature somewhere, but to be honest, I don't care. I love reading good books and all the books in this category were exceptionally good and it will be damn hard to choose a winner, but that's what we're here for, and a winner must be chosen. It's a difficult job, but someone has to do it - so, on with the show.
And......welcome back to this year's third annual GRUNTER AWARDS for excellence in indie publishing. Remember, again, these awards are only my opinion and only cover books I have physically read over the last 365 days - some 145 books in total.
Today, we will be honouring those authors who try to please the fickle, little minds of children. I am in awe of children's books and they are so very important. A child who learns to read early has the entire world opened up to them and their imaginations and thought processes are stimulated greatly by the written word. Reading as a habit that is started early, will last a lifetime and, as authors, we all have a vested interest in children learning to read and acquiring that lifetime habit.
So, without further ado, let's move onto the nominees for Children's book of the year.
Well, it's finally here - my favourite month of the year: December. Yes, it's coming up to Christmas and that's reason enough to be excited, for sure, but it is also the time of year when I review the many magnificent books, almost exclusively from indie authors, I have been privileged enough to read over the past 365 days.
From this review, I make my totally SUBJECTIVE decision as to which books rank where, in the great scheme of things - culminating in the announcement in a week or so of THE SUPREME GRUNTER AWARD FOR 2017.
Yes, I love it - and not because it gives me any great power, because after all this is just my humble (yeah right!) opinion. But, as someone who is a voracious reader, I like to think it does a tiny little bit to promote the amazing indie talent we have out there.
This year, I managed to read 145 books, as opposed to 142 the previous year. I'm confident, with a bit of dedication and effort, I can make 150 next year, which would be a milestone for me.
Anyway, enough of my mindless rambling, it's time for this year's first award in The 2017 Grunters. The Category is ANTHOLOGIES/COLLECTIONS
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Winners will be contacted through email.
Today, I am thrilled to hand my blog over to a good friend of mine and an extraordinarily talented author - LINDA LEE GREENE who is as excited as hell to tell you all about her fantastic new novel "CRADLE OF THE SERPENT". So, without further ado, take it away Linda.
As a child on the farm of my maternal grandparents in Southern Ohio where I was born, and while carted around on the shoulders of my teenage uncles, or on the broad tall backs of our horses, my view of life began atop those high places. From those lofty vantage points, the fairytale landscape and the storybook yarns spun by the hill people there impressed my mind's eye and ear so indelibly that they emerged over the years as images in my artwork and as the bedrocks of my last three books. The first of the three, “Guardians and Other Angels,” (goo.gl/imUwKO) is a novel of historical fiction blended with the true story of my Southern Ohio ancestors during the early to middle Twentieth Century. It has been compared to Pulitzer Prize winners, “The Grapes of Wrath,” and “Angela’s Ashes,” as well as to Jeannette Walls’ “Half Broke Horses.” My novella for young readers titled “Rooster Tale” (goo.gl/vNq32g) is full of moral content, humor, and endearing illustrations by award-winning artist Edith D. Wadkins. It explores an unhappy consequence of a young boy’s temper tantrum.
I am really excited to be included with some amazing #cozyromance Authors in Ryn Shell's Mid-May Cozy Promotion.
Some of the books in this promotion are free, but all of them are no more than 0.99c. Visit some of the authors I will mention today and you will often find more of their books discounted. It's a great way to stock up that Kindle for the summer reading.
In addition to #CozyRomance there are also other promotions including: Modern Crime Authors and Historical Fiction and History.
You can check all these out on Ryn's wonderful website, which you can find here:
Now, On With The Discounts!
After a brief hiatus to catch up on pressing business, we're back to our fantastic series highlighting some of the truly amazing Indie Authors out there in today's marketplace - INDIE AUTHORS OF EXCELLENCE, in other words.
Today I want to focus on another one of my superb author colleagues in the ALLIANCE OF SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS (ASPA). His name is Stuart Kenyon and he writes gritty, hard, almost dystopian stories set in the vicious and unforgiving streets of English cities.
I have read one of his books (Swiftly Sharpens the Fang) and am halfway through my second (Subnormal).
Stuart is an incredibly gifted author and the tales he tells not only pull no punches, they are eerily predictive as we look around at current events. I know you'll love his work as much as I do.
I'm sure one of the most common questions asked of authors when people realise they have written books is, "where do your story ideas come from?" I know I've been asked that question a lot, especially as it relates to certain books I've written. For some authors, it is possibly quite a simple question. Some, well organised and methodical authors have their books well mapped out in advance, with plot lines and characters all either written down or buried in their head.
Not for me that sort of careful planning, I'm afraid. When it comes to writing, I'm very much what is termed in the game, as a "pantser". In other words, I write from the seat of my pants, with very little forethought or planning.
In general terms, once I have an idea for a new story, I usually have a beginning in mind and an end. All that then needs to be worked out is that pesky, little bit in the middle. In other words, about ninety-five percent of the story.
But, how do I come up with the idea in the first place? I know some authors who have an inexhaustible list of story ideas. I envy them greatly. They are either more creative and more imaginative than me or maybe they just are better organised. Whatever is the answer, for me, the end of one book marks the beginning of the soul-searching of what to write next.
I thought today, I might give you a little story on my pride and joy - THE SECOND COMING trilogy.
The Second Coming was my first ever novel. It was never intended to be a trilogy, but as I came toward the end of the book, I realised there was just so much more about these exciting characters that I still wanted to share. Jesus (JC), Maria, Adonis, Gabs, Ronnie and all the other modern-day Disciples had gotten into my bloodstream, so by the time the book was completed, I was ready and raring to go with the sequel - Rise of the AntiChrist.
I'm often asked why I wrote The Second Coming in the first place. That, is a story in itself.
Paranormal Alley is a book that's dear to my heart. Its creation came about through a series of events and conversations with my twenty-four-year-old son, Chris, who can't seem to decide whether he wants to be a screenwriter, a comic book creator or a novelist.
I remember berating him one day about his lack of commitment to any one of the above. I suggested that because he couldn't seem to commit to following one particular field, with some passion, he was actually achieving very little in all three.
His immediate response was to hit back (wonder where he got that from - must've been his Mother, I guess). His exact words were; "yeah, it's so easy for you. You write full-time and I've got to squeeze my writing in between earning a living and having a life."
That did resonate with me and I felt immediate empathy with his plight. He was dead right! I was very fortunate to be able to live my dream, without having to worry about where the next loaf of bread came from. Incidentally, now would be the appropriate time to thank my gorgeous wife Thess for allowing me the opportunity to do exactly that. Thank you, my darling! You are my hero and my superstar and I love you to bits.
So, I thought on about Chris' comment and finally, it hit me, like a bullet between the eyes!