I spend an absurd amount of time hunting down new indie authors to read. Why an absurd amount of time? Because a) there are a TON of indie authors out there, and b) many are very talented and it’s hard to pick who to read.
Thankfully, all of that time spent reading indie authors has led me to a really cool writer: Grace Crandall.
Several months ago I stumbled across her kindle short story called Ashes. It caught my eye because of the gorgeous cover:
Later, I realized that the author herself drew this cover. Not only is she an self-published author, but she’s an INDIE author….Meaning that she takes her creative control several levels higher than most. Not only can she write a darn good story, but she can edit it, format it, publish it, market it, and design her own cover.
Basically, Crandall has talent pouring out of her fingertips. I think we all need to take a step back and bask in her awesomeness.
Okay, before this post turns into me fangirling over my newest amazing indie author discovery, let me tell you a little bit about Ashes.
Fendin has long been loyal to his king Esgor, working to crush the Resistance that dares to defy him. They are nothing but rebellious scum, so he has no problem with infiltrating their ranks, “befriending” them, and then using any information he gains to bring them to their knees.
But soon he begins to see things. Little by little, he realizes: he has joined the wrong side of this fight. He wishes to be done with them all: both Esgor and the rebels, but he’s in too deep. The only way to rid himself of this trapped life as a spy is to deliver the Resistance a fatal blow. This will earn him his freedom.
He sets his bid for freedom into action, felling the Resistance by treachery and setting out on his own, hoping that he can out-ride the horrors of what he has done. But some deeds cannot be forgotten or purged from the soul, a truth that begins to torture Fendin even in his freedom.
I loved this story. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a modern author who is capable of writing such majestic sounding prose. Crandall’s writing style is the type that makes you sit back and think, “Wow. What a beautiful way to phrase that.”
I’m blown away by how great the characters were. Fendin, a traitor, quickly became my favorite character. All I wanted was for him to be able to redeem himself and make it out of the story alive. Crandall clearly has a good grasp on how to write deep, interesting characters in a short amount of time. This is a very hard thing to do, and yet she was able to pull it off in about 45 pages. That takes an immense amount of skill.
I would have liked to have seen more of Fendin’s backstory , but not having a lot of detailed life story didn’t detract from the book. The fact that I care about that character’s past at all is a tribute to how well the story was put together. Just throwing this thought out there in case Crandall is considering writing another part to this story. *nudges with elbow* *whispers* Do it. Please do it.
Also, I feel the need to mention how perfectly the dialogue fit into the medieval-ish world Crandall built. Many books set in ancient time periods get the dialogue all wrong: The characters sound like hipsters from the 21st century who have been sent back in time. I’m happy to announce that Ashes did not have this problem.
Basically, this short story was amazing. Everything flowed very well: the gorgeous writing style, the realistic dialogue, the awesome characters.
Ashes can be found on Amazon for only 99 cents. Yeah. Basically, gold is being given away for practically nothing, so go get some. Not to be insulting, but you’d be an idiot not to pick this story up.
If you want to sample Grace Crandall’s awesome writing, she posts short stories periodically on her blog. You can read them here. They’re all great stories and definitely worth reading, so head on over and check them out.
Grace Crandall is one of those indie authors who I’ve stumbled across and see to be incredibly talented. I’m certain her writing career is headed somewhere brilliant, so I wanted to tip you guys off. Go read Ashes. Then come back and tell me what you think. I’d love to hear how you enjoy it!