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I'm a business journalist and a fiction author. My novel Mute is available now from Silver Leaf Books.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My favorite books from emerging authors

I’ve been using Authonomy, a website by HarperCollins that writer’s utilize  to trade feedback, since 2009 and I’ve commented on over 500 books. Not all of them are brilliant and, often, I do my best to help aspiring writers improve their novels. Occasionally though, I find some real gems. 

Authonomy has given me a free look at some of the best emerging authors, and now I want to share their brilliance. 

So consider this my thanks to the 460-plus people who have commented my novel Mute. Many of you provided tips and corrections that made it possible for me to find a publisher. I’m thrilled that Silver Leaf Books is releasing my novel on Kindle. 

I hope to see many of these novels “go pro” as well. Here are some of my favorite novels on Authonomy (in alphabetical order – because I couldn’t rank them at gunpoint):

The Awakening: Dawn of Destruction – By Cara Goldthrope

Freshly winning a spot for review by HarperCollins, this fantasy novel has great drama and a strong heroine. The author really captured the emotions of her characters.

Bait  - By Ian Walkley

An exciting crime thriller set down under. As you might guess from the title, undercover detective Kasey Bates must place herself in great danger to catch the bad guys.

Behind the Hood – By Marita A. Hansen

New Zealand has a gang problem? I thought it had a sheep problem? This novel does a tremendous job showing the violence, drugs, ethnic tension and bullying in South Auckland. It made it to the HarperCollins desk.

Between – By Cyndi Tefft

Yes, I do enjoy a good fantasy romance from time to time, especially with a unique storyline. Poor Lindsey Water met an untimely death, but she’s also about to meet the man of her dreams as she’s escorted to heaven by an 18th century Scottish highlander.  Strange as it seems, this premise works splendidly. 

Blue Diamonds ­– By Tonia Marlowe

She told him no, but this former military man won’t take no for an answer. There’s a lot of excitement as the woman tries to fend off the badass psycho guy. It made the HarperCollins desk and, while they passed on it, I feel it deserves to be published.

Conflicts of Interest – By Bob Steele

This novel has been up for a while and it made the HarperCollins desk, and the story has stuck with me. David’s business partner is murdered after a trip to Russia and his life quickly unravels. It has some slick business corruption angles, which I certainly can appreciate being a business reporter. This guy writes like a professional.

The Ghost Writer – By B.J. Winters

This novel, which made the HarperCollins desk, is about a writer who finds a mysterious manuscript at his bedside and realizes that it could help him prevent a murder. The writing here is fantastic.

The Good and Bad – By Marshall Dotson

Demons, rock stars, vampires, sword play. In other words, great campy fun!

The Immortality Game – By Ted Cross

This is a strong science fiction thriller that reminded me of the Battlestar Galactica spinoff Caprica because it involves downloading a person onto a computer chip. It has fast-paced action and puts the characters in terrible danger. My heart was racing.

The Magic Door Knob  - T.D. Holland

This is one of my favorite children’s/young adult novels on here. It’s about a magic doorknob (duh) that takes Ricky to other worlds. It has such a great pace that it’s hard to put it down at the end of a chapter.

Misery’s Fire – By Kim Jewell
A well-written story about a high school student waking up in hell, literally. It has cracking dialog and it’s good fun.

The Raven and the Wolf – By Athena Lyso

Another great fantasy, this time with a loyal officer being unjustly banished from the kingdom after a tense meeting with the king. Engle befriends an orphan in the wilderness and sets out for redemption. The great plot carries this one along.

The Roswell Protocols – By Allan Burd

If Roswell is in the title, you can guess what this is about. It’s one of the better alien invasion stories I’ve read on here. It looks at a spaceship crash from many points of view, from the general public to the military.

The Rufino Bloodfang Saga: Leap of Faith – By Jason Baird

This might be the most overlooked novel on my list (I’m one of two comments at the moment), but don’t miss out on it! It’s one of the most original vampire novels I’ve ever read. Rufino is a midget vampire with a Mohawk. He’s not all that successful as a lady’s man, or a fighter really, and it’s funny to watch a vampire who’s not as tough as he thinks. Then he falls in love with a tall, beautiful druid. Of course she hates the little bugger, but she needs him for a quest. Can the little vampire win the lovely druid’s heart? Oh, and the mini vampire bites a monkey – ha ha ha!

Sage Courage – By Heather McLoud

Leila flees a tragic past for Wyoming and winds up landing a job watching somebody’s kids in a house way in the middle of nowhere. But these aren’t normal kids…The mystery really gripped me and the tension level was super high.

Secrets We Keep  - By Gail Cleare

Simply put: This one deserves to be published. It’s a family drama thriller about two sisters who discover that their mother, now ill, has been leading a secret life.

To Set a Mouse Running – By Robert Lawrence

This type of plot is fairly familiar - a man’s family is killed in an IRA bombing and he is going to great lengths to bring the killers to justice. It’s the way this story is written that makes it so powerful. In order for this to work, the author had to make the deaths have real emotional impact. He certainly accomplished that.

So that’s my list. I’ll consider writing another post if I come across some more truly special books.
Until then, just keep in mind that the release of my novel Mute is right around the corner.