Greetings fair internet peoples!

SHORT STORY: I am an independent author and is celebrating Independent Authors this month (October) over on their Powered by Indie page!! WOOT!! You can help celebrate by spreading the word and making lists of your favorite books that have been independently published. Go forth and celebrate.


LONG STORY: I’m exceptionally honored that my book, Truth or Beard is being highlighted by Amazon during their Powered by Indie month. It has been chosen as one of the Evergreen Favorites as a celebration of all things independent author and independent publishing.

penny reid

I started this journey three and a half years ago. If you’d asked me then, when I self-published my first book (Neanderthal Seeks Human) on Amazon in March 2013, if I could ever imagine myself as a full time author, it would have been like asking me if I could imagine transforming into a mermaid. Everything about my life has changed, and it all started with pressing that ‘publish’ button on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

At first, every review was baffling. I couldn’t imagine (and I still can’t) that anyone would want to read one of my weird stories ON PURPOSE. So, I wanted to share a list of some of my favorite independent books from independent authors over the last several years.

Contemporary romance: I read Painted Faces by LH Cosway in early 2014 after seeing it paired with my first book on several bloggers’ end of the year top ten lists. It seemed like if my books was on a list, then Painted Faces was also on the list. Curious, I downloaded it and I absolutely fell in love. This book is everything. It’s surprising and smart, passionate and romantic. Whenever anyone asks for a recommendation, it’s one of my top go to books forever and ever.


Literary Fiction: In 2013, my first year publishing, Amy Harmon was recommended to me by . . . everyone. So I finally read A Different Blue and understood why everyone recommended Amy Harmon. Simply put, Amy Harmon writes exceptional novels. Her writing is exceptional. Her stories are exceptional. She is exceptional. I was lucky enough to meet her in person at a writer convention in 2014; she was getting on to an elevator (arriving from the airport) late at night and I was coming back in from an evening out to dinner. I saw her and I freaked out a little. “You’re Amy Harmon!” I said, stunned that she was a real, living, breathing person. She was the first author I met (in person) whose books I love (so, imagine meeting Jane Austen, or JRR Tolkien– same thing going on here). But Amy took it in stride. She was gracious and exceptional (just like her books).


Contemporary Romance: I’ve never met Mariana Zapata, but several of my readers messaged me and recommended her books. “It’s slow burn romance!” they said. I decided to take a gander and I’m so glad I did. Mariana is a treasure and her books are satisfying in the same way a super fancy meal (with 7 courses and 2 bottles of wine and cocktails and extra dessert) is satisfying. The Wall of Winnipeg is an absolute delight. I witnessed the progression of two people falling in love. Not lust, not insta-anything. I cannot recommend her books enough. READ THEM ALL!


Historical Fiction / Fantasy: April White messaged me fall 2013 and told me she’d read my first book and loved it. At the time (and, honestly, still) I was still weirded out by “fan mail”. I prefer calling it “reader mail”. I messaged her back and thanked her profusely for taking the time to email me. We struck up a conversation and quickly became facebook friends. About 6 months later I found out that she was an author. AND she’d published her first book, Marking Time six months prior to my first book. I read it (meaning, I devoured it) and I loved it. History, action, romance, adventure, capering, vivid details, engaging characters– this book and this series has it all. If you love smart, historical fiction then April White is a must read.


Comedy / Romantic Comedy: Funny, clever, heartfelt with a good guy hero who is a nerd and a heroine I want to be friends with, Animate Me by Ruth Clampett is my go-to feel good romantic comedy. It’s funny, it’s sweet and silly, and it’s unique (both in premise and execution). When people want to read something that will make them smile, this is the book I always recommend. It’s a gem, and like Ruth, I wish I could buy it dinner on Tuesdays and listen to it non-stop. 🙂


Paranormal: I’ve never read much paranormal anything. So when my author friend, April White, suggested Elizabeth Hunter‘s books, I put off reading them for over a year. Finally, FINALLY I read the first in her Elemental Mysteries series and I fell in love. My favorite book by this gifted author to date is Waking Hearts, which is book 3 in her Cambio Springs series. I still don’t read paranormal much and now I blame Elizabeth Hunter for that. She raised the bar so high, I can’t seem to find anything that satisfies and captivates the same way her brilliant stories do.


Erotica: Like paranormal, I’ve never been much of an erotica reader. I figure, if I want sex I’ll just do it rather than read about it (amiright ladies??) But that was before I read C.D. ReissSongs of Submission. Eloquent and addictive, I fell in love with the ferocity of the story, the elegant subtext and beautiful imagery. Plus, I was lucky enough to meet CD in person two years ago and this woman is one of my favorite people on earth. I might be a little in love with her brain. CD Reiss proved me wrong about erotica. Let her prove you wrong, too.


Let’s see your lists!! Tell me which indie authors are must reads for you.