Excellent Authors and Friends / by Josh Guess

I promised I'd post this today, and I feel pretty good that I'm doing it. I've been meaning to mention some of my author friends again, as it's been a long time since I've done that. So while you're waiting for Monster to come out, please check out each of these links.

Annetta Ribken can be found at Wordwebbing, which is her website and blog. Normally I'd link to all the stuff Netta has written, but the list is pretty long. Instead allow me to point you to her Amazon author page, where you can peruse her works.

Netta and I became friends after she read the first installment of Living With the Dead and contacted me on facebook. She has been a font of great advice, wisdom, and deeply inappropriate humor for me. She's awesome and talented as all hell, one of the few authors I know that excels equally as an editor and writer. If you're having a hard time picking one of her works to read, let me suggest her novel, Athena's Promise. I've read several of her collections of flash fiction, but this novel has a special place in my heart, as she allowed me to beta read it. It's fun and funny, with moments of beauty and darkness. You won't be disappointed.

Lori Whitwam theoretically writes romance, but I'll be damned if she can't bend genres better than almost anyone I've read. Her debut novel, Make or Break is damn good. But it's the novella she wrote for my Year One collection of Living With the Dead--Monsters Unmasked--that really and truly blew me away with her talent. Maybe because I read it before her novel. Monsters is a sort of romance set in a world overrun by the living dead (my world, in fact) that manages to convey the most vile deeds a human being can do, yet show the strength and power one woman has to overcome them.

Lori is, much like Netta, snarky and hilarious. She has been a sounding board, and our mutual love of dogs and being as smart-assed as possible has been sort of a bonding experience. I've been promised that when she and Netta take over the world, I'll be spared. Even if I have to work as an oiled-up manservant.

If you already have Year One and don't want to spent the money to buy Monsters because it's in that collection, then consider buying Make or Break. Or if you're feeling generous and want to support a talented lady, go ahead and buy both.

Joseph Paul Haines  is the third person (counting the above ladies as the first two) who just wrecks my brain with how good he is. Joe wrote Marooned under the name P.J. Druce, a young adult novel that I also beta read. When Joe and I first became friends it was through Lori and Netta, and the ladies suggested I buy Joe's short story collection Ten With A Flag. I did. Then I bought the collection Brave New Worlds just because he has a story in it.

Joe is awesome. I mean that on a lot of levels. He's supremely capable of creating darkness and making you enjoy it, and I couldn't have been happier with Marooned. That book is a lot like Joe himself--complex, honest, and layered in ways that keep you interested.

It's hard to put into words how much I want you to support these folks. As writers they're awesome, but as people they're even better. I can't explain how funny and fun they are, because that's like trying to map out why your best friend is your best friend with dry words and no context.

It helps that their personalities come out in their work. You get to see pieces of them in their characters: Lori, snarky romantic, Netta as the take-no-shit badass with a heart full of hope and love, and Joe studying the things moving around in the shadows but laughing at them instead of cringing away.

I support them. If I won the lottery I'd fulfill a dream of mine and start a publishing house just for indies. I know that seems like a contradiction, but it isn't. I wish I could give them advances and pay them to do the thing they love full-time, do a lot of the work for them, promote and advertise. Because they're worth it as authors and people.

But I can't do that. Not yet, anyway. Maybe when I'm making Stephen King money someday. For now, all I can do is urge you to take a chance, spend on their books what you would spend on a cup of overpriced coffee, and let them take you away for a while.

You'll enjoy the trip.