Indie Advent Calendar
Indie Advent Calendar
Welcome to Indie Advent Calendar.
There’s always that one person we struggle to buy a gift for, sometimes we aren’t even sure what we want ourselves!
From the 1st – 24th of December I’m going to be introducing two independently published books to you, as well as sharing a bit about the authors. With a range of different genres being featured there’s bound to be something for everyone, even the most awkward to buy for family member. There are so many hidden gems out there, just waiting to be discovered- you may even find your new favourite author…
There is also a draw on Facebook to win one of the featured books and you can vote for which you’d like to see as part of a video review in the new year.
You can have a chat about the books over on the Facebook page or in the comments section here by clicking the post title to go to the comments page.
– Come back each day to open a door into a new world –
Sharlin Craig – Ornaments of Love
Sharlin Craig, a Detroit native who now resides in southern California with her husband and daughter, is dedicated to writing inspirational children’s books that touch the spirit of her readers. A graduate of Oakland University, she’s taught music to children for several years while also writing music and lyrics. She’s combined her love for children and writing into authoring her debut children’s Christmas picture book, ‘Ornaments of Love’ and the “Ornaments of Love Coloring Book-Slowing Down with Family at Christmas Time”.
Sharlin believes that with the right surroundings and daily encouragement, children are boundless. She’s passionate about helping children feel understood and empowered through her books and hopes that her stories make them smile. She was inspired to write “Ornaments of Love” to remind herself and all families to always make the time to share treasured Christmas traditions with their children.
ORNAMENTS OF LOVE-
A touching Christmas story with glowing illustrations, Ornaments of Love is a story to cherish for years to come. A beautiful tale of Ayana, an endearing ten-year-old who excitedly anticipates that special time of year when the entire family joins together to decorate and admire the Christmas tree.
But sadly this year is different. Ayana realizes that her mom and dad are far too busy with everything else to enjoy the tree with Ayana. Then, something unexpected happens and the family is brought together with tenderness and joy.
Filled to the brim and overflowing with charming moments, gentle humor, and timeless illustrations, this beautiful story is a wonderful reminder of what’s important not only during the Christmas season, but every day of our lives. Ornaments of Love is destined to become one of your favorite holiday stories. One that will remain in your heart forever.
“Ornaments of Love Coloring Book-Slowing Down with Family at Christmas Time”
This beautifully designed coloring book is a companion or
stand-alone book to the original Ornaments of Love picture book.
It contains not only the complete story of Ornaments of Love, but also provides 21 full-size coloring pages for artists of all ages. The Ornaments of Love coloring book was created to bring families together at Christmas time. It provides families a perfect way to reduce holiday stress by spending quiet time coloring pages that showcase angels, bells, stars and much more. Coloring pages range from easy to difficult, perfect for all family members! Additional complimentary coloring pages are available to print online with the purchase of the coloring book.
Visit Sharlin’s website
Peter Kazmaier – The Halcyon Dislocation
THE HALCYON DISLOCATION-
Dave Schuster’s day at the University of Halcyon began like any other for an engineering undergraduate. Sure he had a meeting with his uncle, but nothing prepared him for how his life and the life of everyone at the university would change for ever.
A risky physics experiment would transport the island university to a new world. Dave and his friends would be thrown into a world that would require everyone to pull together simply to survive as they tried to figure out what happened and how they might possibly get back home.
As Halcyonites worked to establish a viable colony, tyrannical forces within the university use this catastrophe to strengthen their power and control. Exploration reveals first an unexpected ally and then a terrifying enemy that plots to use the university to invade our space time. Follow the adventures of Dave and his friends as they battle the university hierarchy and alert the university to the danger that threatens.
This colonization epic is a fast paced adventure novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat but also explores fundamental subjects such as good and evil, human nature, and the role that faith can play in times of great trial.
Peter Kazmaier is an award winning author of futuristic fiction. His experience as a researcher in chemistry enables him to bring authentic scientific insight to his much beloved series, The Halcyon Cycle. He lives with his wife Kathy in Mississauga, Canada. They spend their summers at their cottage on the Rideau Canal, near Seeley’s Bay, Ontario.
E.W. Sullivan – Swarm Theory
Award winning author E. W. Sullivan (Sully) was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He began his official writing career in 2013 after he penned his first novel Sheaves of Zion – a Readers’ Favorite award winner for fiction-mystery-sleuth. His second novel Swarm Theory is the second book in the Thelonious Zones series and a Five Star read. Ideas for his books come partly from reality and partly from dreams. “Growing up and living in the South there is a strong tradition in the interpretation of dreams. Some turn them in to fables. I turn them in to stories.” Sullivan credits his high school English teacher and his parents for his love of writing. He lives and works in Atlanta, GA with his wife Anita and daughter Paris.
Criminal profiler Dr. Thelonious Zones wants to believe his father didn’t kill his mother. What stops him from believing is the twenty-five years to life he received for her murder. Zones’ avuncular employer and father’s best friend, Sam Drake, defends his innocence. Zones sets out to find the truth to this twenty-four-year-old question, but his search is interrupted when he is forced to investigate the death of a young Arab college student and the series of bombings engulfing a small southern town. Zones’ theory and profile of the perpetrator(s) are questioned by law enforcement when events change and new suspects emerge. The trail to the truth will lead Zones through a thicket of well-guarded secrets and childhood memories that cause him to question what he believes about how the world truly works.
Buy Swarm Theory on Amazon
Check it out on Goodreads
Follow E. W. Sullivan on Twitter
Like E. W. Sullivan’s page on Facebook
Visit his website
J.B. Richards – Miriamne the Magdala
I’m a historian and an international author who’s in love with ancient history! For more than 20 years, I’ve extensively researched the lives of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the early Christian community as well as the religious, political, and cultural climate in the Middle East around the 1st century C.E. My perception of Jesus (called “Yeshua” in his native Aramaic tongue) and Mary Magdalene (“Miriamne” in my novel series), and insight into their times, inspired me to write about them in the context of their everyday familial lives, putting the focus on Yeshua’s destiny and the impact of his earthly Mission on his beloved Miriamne, his family and friends, and himself.
My most important goal in writing “Miriamne the Magdala” was to present Yeshua and Miri in a unique way that appealed not so much to the religious aspect of their lives, but to the highly personal relationship and trust that developed between the pair. My novel provides a brand new interpretation of Jesus and Mary the Magdala’s personal life. Never before has the story of Jesus and the Magdala been told in such an intimate and compelling manner. My readers actually become an integral part of this tale, believing that they can, at any moment, reach out and touch Yeshua’s sleeve or have an intimate chat with Miriamne. One thing is for certain—once you read “Miriamne the Magdala”, you will never see their relationship the same way again!
MIRIAMNE THE MAGDALA-
“Miriamne the Magdala” tells the richly detailed story of an ancient Jewish family in crisis. When twelve-year-old Miriamne and her 13-year-old long-lost cousin Yeshua are unexpectedly reunited, sparks fly. But the grave illness of a parent causes turmoil and anxiety within the two related Houses, especially for Yeshua who recognizes that his Mission is fast upon him and his miraculous powers are growing out of control. As the life-and-death situation escalates, he begins to question his allegiance to his Divine Father while Miri finds herself torn between her newfound love for Yeshua and her premonitions about his unimaginable fate.
Currently, I’m in the process of writing the second chapter in The Yeshua and Miri Novels Series, “Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road”, which is due for publication in 2017.
Read an excerpt of “Miriamne the Magdala”, and learn more about “Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road” – the exciting second chapter in the Yeshua and Miri Novel Series here.
Michelle Eshbaugh-Soha – FOOD WARS, Episode IV: A Noodle of Hope
This book actually started out as a homeschool creative writing project with my two sons, ages 13 and 10. We had always thought how funny it would be if our dog thought he was a great hero, and we began to come up with scenes from Star Wars that featured dogs instead of humans. Well, what we shared with our friends and family was so enthusiastically received that we decided to go for it and publish a parody of Star Wars. Thus it was that “FOOD WARS, Episode IV: A Noodle of Hope” was born.
The story follows Puke Skywalker, a young mutt with a yearning to get out and smell the world. When he intercepts a secret message from a furry princess, the Doberman-Yorkie bites off more than he can swallow (almost), and unknowingly casts himself into the heart of a galactic war. Armed with his father’s light-skewer and guided by hunger and the mysterious wisdom of a hound named Old Bone, Puke joins a group of rebels in their attempt to save dogkind from the evil Alpha Empire and their dark-haired warlord who would force dogs everywhere into the slow death of a vegetarian diet.
But the questions remain: Will our heroes be able to stop the Alphas before spinach and crab grass become their only source of nutrition? Will their hunger distract them from their goal? Will they ever learn to count past two?
This book is the first in a series that will include Episodes V and VI. It is written for the upper middle grade and young adult audience, but is just as enjoyable for adults who remember George Lucas’ classic “Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope.”
Michelle Eshbaugh-Soha (and Ethan and Rowan too!)
Buy FOOD WARS, Episode IV: A Noodle of Hope on Amazon
Like the Facebook page
Check out the website
Ghufra Baqi – Demise
My name is Ghufra Baqi. I’m a 15 year old from India. I would love some feedback or reviews on my mystery book named Demise.
A peaceful reunion turns into a horrifying tragedy when Harris and Xavier Tijan’s host is found dead in his bed. When Xavier begins to unfold the mystery, would the result turn out to be suicide or something more sinister like…murder?
Buy Demise (Death at Springfield) on Amazon
Mounia Bagha – Celebration
If you’d ask me the exact moment I came up with the idea for my novel “Celebration”, I would just say that I can’t remember. It didn’t magically happen, I simply started collecting thoughts on paper over the years the same way you would with your diary. The reflections were mine and mirrored perfectly the frenzy that was going on in my head at the time. Writing became a soothing process and while life kept getting in between, the pages grew and an idea started to form. This collection of words soon turned out to be the solid foundation for a fictional, alternative version of life. Characters started to have names, and physical features, and a life of their own. I was seeing the beauty of story-telling manifesting in front of me. And so I kept going until their story was told: five young adults figuring out life in London, trying to build a world of their own until this one collapses one evening. I wanted it to be everyone’s story but with a twist. I wanted it to be the kind of a book I wanted to read, the kind of story you spend hours looking for in a bookstore because you need it at this particular time of your life. I wanted it to be the kind of book that is impossible to put down, and yet the kind you do not want to finish. I think it’s pretty much every writer’s dream, that is to connect and reach out to complete strangers in a way you sometimes can’t even do with relatives. Stephen King rightfully once said: ” Writing is a lonely job”. It can also be an incredibly rewarding one.
So, I hope you will find that story you are looking for during this holiday season. I know it’s out there somewhere and in the meantime, if life ever gets tough, just love it a bit harder.
Buy Celebration on Amazon
Check out Mounia’s website
Marie Silk – Davenport House
They say you should write about what you want to read. I never thought much about writing a novel until I searched in vain for American historical fiction taking place in the early 1900’s. I began to write a book, which turned into a series, and has been likened to Downton Abbey by the Historical Novel Society.
I love weaving real historical events into the stories and imagining how people would have reacted at the time. Readers can expect suspense, scandal, and secrets. The stories often change perspective between the wealthy and poor, the upper class and servants. The books are also suitable for young adults readers. I hope everyone enjoys this glimpse into society and servant life in 1915 America :).
Davenport House is the first book in a family saga following the wealthy Davenports and their servants in 1915 America.
Mary Davenport is a 22-year-old idealist who worries that the world in the Progressive Era is leaving her behind. She lives isolated in the Pennsylvania countryside with her affluent and secretive family. When her father dies suddenly, Mary becomes pained with grief and increasingly suspicious of those around her.
A humble servant girl has the chance of a lifetime to become a lady’s companion. Costly dresses, exquisite rooms, and fine dinners are pleasant distractions from what is really happening in the house.
Buy Davenport House on-
Check it out on Goodreads
Rose Collins – The Night Before Christmas
It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring,
Not even a … BEAR ?
The ancient “Twas the night before Christmas” poem is brought beautifully to life in this gorgeous picture book with a twist- as Santa visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve.
Share the Christmas magic and experience a whole new retelling of the timeless Christmas classic with The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins.
With beautifully illustrated pages, The Night Before Christmas is the perfect gift for any child.
Alfred Eyrie – Memoirs of a Haunted House
Memoirs of a Haunted House is a somewhat fictionalized memoir of my childhood living in a house that had a reputation for being haunted. My parents did not seem to notice the effects of the house on our family…until it was too late. Of course, the story is not only about the sense of death I experienced there, but also about the house’s life.
I confined the story to my middle-school years, but there are still some good Christmas memories in there along with some of the other seasons. Here is one I’d like to share:
The Applegate manor lay atop a small knoll in the middle of a wide, prosperous farm. The family had been one of the first to come west and settle this valley, and their influence on local politics was still widely felt. The house had sat atop that little hill, surrounded by pear and apple orchards and grassy pastures, for a hundred and fifty years. It was like one of those mansions in the movies: three stories high in the middle, with a two-story wing coming off of one side that had obviously been built some time later. Dad was practically drooling as we parked the van in the nearby pasture that had been cleared of snow.
“Now remember, kids,” Dad cautioned us before we mounted the wide, stone steps that led to the front terrace, “children are meant to be seen and not heard.”
“Don’t break anything,” Mom offered in her own, helpful way.
I tried not to look impressed as we walked up to that grand, front entrance, but Dad’s mouth was hanging open, and I think it spoke pretty well for the rest of us. Even the Rockefeller Inn was just a house compared to this place. Two wide, double doors opened into a vast, marble-floored entry hall. There was a chandelier hanging overhead that sparkled with a thousand glass crystals, and a two-story Christmas tree rose from the base of the wide, stone staircase that led to the second-floor landing.
A house servant—a real butler, Mom noted—ushered us down the hallway and into the ballroom. I had never been in a real ballroom before. At least, not counting when we played Clue and I had to move into the ballroom to make an accusation like “it was Mr. Green with the lead pipe”. I was prepared to be overwhelmed with splendor and awe. I was not prepared to be overwhelmed with the feeling of dread that met me at the door.
I hesitated at the entrance to the grand chamber. Dad urged me forward, and I took a step or two into the room before turning off to one side. My parents left me there with my sudden onset of timidity. All around me, the valley’s richest and most important people were mingling amongst each other, laughing and smiling and talking over the music coming from a set of speakers on the bandstand at the far side of the room.
It was the music that had stopped me. Some classical piece of music sung by a choir of high-pitched boys or something. At the time, though, it sounded like screaming. Women, and children screaming. Like some kind of demonic doorway to hell had opened up in that grand hallway and the voices of a thousand lost souls could be heard crying out. I could feel their terror, could feel the sadness of their fate oozing from the very walls of that house. The air seemed thick with their cries; the room seemed far more crowded for me to dare walk through it.
Why didn’t it bother anybody else? Didn’t they hear all that screaming?
I inched along the wall, not daring to expose my back to…I don’t know what. Everything about that place suddenly felt wrong. Was it the music? Was it just my imagination again?
I felt trapped. No. It was the screamers. They were trapped. Trapped within the walls of this prestigious, old home. Trapped inside its memories. Trapped inside its unhappiness. Brought back from limbo and held in torment by these songs and traditions of Christmas. By this crowd of merrymakers who seemed all but oblivious themselves to the misery around them.
I did not want to join that party. I did not want to end up trapped. To my right, I spied an open pair of French doors leading out onto a patio. I darted towards them, not bothering to tell my parents where I was going.
I could still hear the choir singing. Only, it wasn’t singing. It sounded as if a hundred voices were wailing and weeping in despair. I couldn’t understand how that could be, considering the festivities around me. Nobody else seemed to notice the noise, and nobody seemed to have any trouble with the overwhelming stuffiness of that expansive ballroom. As soon as I had passed through the French doors onto the patio, I felt the weight of the air return to normal, but the singing still gave me the shivers.
Gathering up my wits, I found myself standing on a luxurious patio, lit by a silver moon and thousands of white Christmas lights in the well-pruned shrubs and trees that lined the edges. A cluster of tables and chairs had been scattered around a large, circular fire pit at the center of the patio. Dazzled by the beauty of the moment, I wandered slowly toward the blazing fire.
As the cold air and warm fire began to clear my head, I felt my body relax. I shivered one last time and then shook off that overwhelming feeling. Sinking into an empty chair beside the fire, I leaned forward to soak up the radiant warmth.
Then I started to wonder. What had happened in there?
I didn’t get time to think much more when a tall, lanky shadow appeared beside my chair. “A bit stuffy inside, isn’t it?” I recognized Mr. Johnson’s voice immediately—kind and curious and just as festive as he had been at Halloween—and I felt safe as he came to stand over me. Then he said casually, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I stiffened, unable to explain what it was that had driven me from the house. In truth, he was wrong with his assumption; I hadn’t seen anything. “These old houses really creep my out,” I finally offered as an excuse.
Mr. Johnson tilted his head questioningly. “All of them?” Like his, I realized he was asking. And like mine?
“No,” I stammered quickly. My thoughts turned back to the mortuary, how similar the house was to my own, but how peaceful I felt inside of it. “Not all of them,” I said. “I like your old house.” I gestured toward the French doors. “But the music in there sounds like people screaming from beyond the grave.”
“My, you do have a big imagination,” Mr. Johnson said with a laugh. He listened for a moment, then shrugged. “I think that’s Handel’s Messiah.”
I looked up at him. “You know that song?”
He shrugged again. “Maybe. Not as well as I know this house.”
That perked my ears up. “What about this house?”
He seemed to hesitate before answering, as if there were more he might say…but didn’t. Instead, Mr. Johnson looked up at the tall, brightly-lit windows that looked out over the patio and said, “A curious place, the Applegate estate. Built in 1868 by John Monroe Applegate.” Seating himself in another patio chair beside me, he added, “The Third.”
“The third what, Mr. Johnson?” I said when he did not explain further.
“He was John Applegate The Third.” He leaned towards the bonfire for a moment, rubbing his hands together in front of him to help soak in the warmth. Then he added, “And you can call me Bob. No need to be stuffy and formal with me. I’m not here to rub shoulders and shake hands. I’m with the historical society. They invite us every year.” He looked down at me and winked. “It comes with owning one of the older houses in town.”
A thought came to me then. “Do you…” I hesitated to ask. “Do you know anything about the history in my house?”
This made him sit back in his seat and frown. He blinked a few times, then said, “No. Sorry. There’s not much I can tell you.” As if to change the subject, he suddenly pointed back at the French doors and said, “Your family’s having a lot of fun in there. Are you sure you don’t want to go join them?”
I shook my head. “I wasn’t having any fun in there.”
Mr. Johnson turned back to the fire and fell silent for a moment. Finally he said, “You know, having a big, old house isn’t always fun.” He leaned back in his seat and let his hands drop to his lap. “Some of them come with a lot of fixing up to do. Some have pests in the attic or bugs in the walls. Some of them come with a lot of expectations from the neighbors about how you’ll keep your lawn and decorate for Christmas.” He looked over at me. The fire crackled contentedly in the silence that followed. At last, he said, “Some come with other…strings…attached.”
“What kind of strings?” I asked.
He smiled kindly at me and rose from his chair. As he stepped past me, he put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a gentle, grandfather-like squeeze. “You’ll know it if you see it, Alfred,” he said quietly. “The question is whether or not you want to.”
And with that, he walked across the patio and back into the party.
Buy Memoirs of a Haunted House on Amazon
D. Thrush – The Daughter Claus
I wrote a book because my mother told me to. Not that I always listened to my mother or did initially. But she kept bugging me about an idea she had about Santa’s daughter (named Santina) who helps him out at the North Pole. She thought it’d be a cute story of generational conflicts. “You write it, Mom,” I insisted. I knew she’d written a few unpublished stories, and I hadn’t even published my first book yet. But she wouldn’t let up, and the story started forming in my head. By the time I’d written and published “The Daughter Claus,” she had Alzheimer’s and never got to fully enjoy the book I’d created from her idea. I named Mrs. Claus after her – Clara. It has become my most popular book. I wrote a sequel last year and am now working on a third (and final?) book about Santina and the dysfunctional Claus family. Christmas magic, romantic entanglements, family dramas, and most of all girl power make this a fun holiday book. I love these characters and so do readers. Thanks Mom!
“The Daughter Claus” is on sale for .99 on Amazon from Wed. 12/14 thru Tues. 12/20.
Hannah Ross – Paths of the Shadow
I’m Hannah Ross, a writer of primarily high and epic fantasy. I also write science fiction/dystopia and historical fiction. I’ve been making up tales in my head even before I could hold a pencil. Once I discovered this magic of recording stories on paper, I never looked back, writing diaries, essays, short stories, poetry, plays and, in recent years, mostly novels.
My biggest projects of the past years are Quest of the Messenger, an epic fantasy trilogy, and Wild Children, the beginning of a new sci-fi/dystopia series.
Until now I’ve been a 100% indie author, but recently I’ve signed a publishing deal for my upcoming novel, Wild Children, with Mason Marshall Press.
On a more personal note, I’m a homeschooling mother to three young children. My husband and I enjoy a rural life very much in the boonies, where we have a large garden and a flock of backyard hens. Digging in the earth and collecting fresh eggs is incredibly de-stressing and healthful to the soul.
PATHS OF THE SHADOW-
Meet Nicholas Swift, a determined bachelor and a skeptical historian. His work is made of dispelling myths and shedding light on the solid body of fact. When he is told by the residents of a small village about a strange phenomenon that can be observed in the area, he dismisses these rumors as old wives’ tales. Sooner than he knows, however, he is drawn into an adventure he neither expected nor wished for as he discovers a magical link between our world and another quite unlike it.
Nicholas finds himself in a land full of loyalty and courage, but also blood thirst and danger. He meets a king who yearns for an heir, a man who hides a dark secret, and a woman who believes she has what it takes to keep her beloved land safe, but threatens countless lives in the process. In the midst of it all, Nicholas is left to figure out the purpose of his unique fate.
Check out Hannah’s blog
Like Hannah’s page on Facebook