Today's recommendations are by Dru Pagliassotti, whose first novel, Clockwork Heart, won the Romantic Times Book Reviews’ Best Small Press Contemporary Futuristic Novel award for 2008. Book two, Clockwork Lies: Iron Wind was released in March of this year and book three, Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire is out this September. She’s written numerous short stories, a horror novel (An Agreement with Hell), and edited several works, including a scholarly book on Japanese yaoi, or boy’s love manga.
Self-publishing has taken off over the last few years, but there are so many self-published books available, of such wildly varying quality, that it’s difficult to figure out what’s worth the effort and what isn’t. Here are a few self-published novels I’ve enjoyed recently — each contains romantic elements, so I’ve tried to provide a little something for everyone.
- Lindsay Buroker: In the steampunkish fantasy Emperor’s Edge series, Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is ordered to hunt down the infamous assassin Sicarius. However, common political enemies and goals soon throw them together to create a band of misfit vigilantes dedicated to saving the empire. The Emperor’s Edge novels combine politics, humor, m/f romantic tension, and high adventure in a consistently engaging manner. (Emperor’s Edge [this book can be downloaded for free], Dark Currents, Deadly Games, Conspiracy, Blood and Betrayal, Beneath the Surface, Forged in Blood I & II, plus misc. short stories).
- Catherine M. Wilson: When Women Were Warriors is a Bronze-Age-themed fantasy trilogy and coming-of-age story that follows young Tamras as she leaves her mother’s household to enter the local ruling matriarch’s, where she will train to become a warrior. Along the way, she heals the shunned warrior Maara, who becomes her mentor and counselor. The novels are a thoughtfully written, woman-centered contemplation on the nature of responsibility, maturity, love, and courage. I found the series’ f/f romance and world of mutually respectful gender equality to be a quietly refreshing change from the fantasy-fiction norm. (The Warrior’s Path [this book can be downloaded for free], A Journey of the Heart, A Hero’s Tale).
- Jordan L. Hawk: The Whyborne & Griffin series offers a combination of steamy m/m romance and unearthly Lovecraftian horror. While I doubt HPL would have approved of the relationship between the scholarly linguist Percival Endicott Whyborne and the haunted ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty, I expect he would have appreciated the damnable tomes, deadly labyrinthine caverns, and unsavory ancient artifacts that pepper this occult-mystery series set in the late 19th century. (Widdershins, Threshold, Stormhaven, Necropolis).
Due to time constraints and other factors this will be my last Recommended Reading post. Kristin from My Bookish Ways will be taking over the column for SF Signal. So if you'd like to see more recommendations by professionals posts, you'll have to head over there.