Author guest post: Nerine Dorman’s top 10 Indie/Small press reads

And now, for something a little different…

I’d like to welcome South African author Nerine Dorman, who’ll be guest posting on my blog today.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve done something on the urban fantasy front, and with self-published and Indie books becoming increasingly popular, I’ve invited Nerine, who happens to work closely with numerous of these highly underrated authors, to chat to us about her favourite books within this spectrum.

I will be reviewing two of Nerine’s books on my blog at a later stage, so be sure to be on the lookout for that. I’ve already read one of her books and absolutely adored it – her characters are awesome and her writing is simply gorgeous (Ha, I dare you not to have a crush on the vampire in What Sweet Music They Make).

But, more on that later. Without further ado, I’m handing over to Nerine (who by the way, is absolutely lovely in person too).

My Top 10 Indie Reads 

What I absolutely adore about working as a mainly small press/indie editor/book reviewer/bibliophile is the fact that I encounter fresh literary voices I’d never have found otherwise. 

While traditionally published books regularly land on my desk, I’m often approached by small presses and indie authors who request reviews.

Or, as editor, I end up working with an author and totally falling in love with their writing.

Small press and indie publishing is where genre fiction that is hard to classify gets its opportunity to shine and, while these stories may not find mainstream attention, they nonetheless have merit and will appeal to readers looking for something different.
To give a definitive top ten of indie/small press titles is totally impossible, because every reader will have a different favourites list, so instead I’m going to chat about some of my most recent reading/editing highlights, and encourage you to go feed your preferred electronic reading device or, where possible, order the book in print.

(And if you haven’t already considered moving over to a kindle/Kobo/iPad then this is a great opportunity to do so. Hint: you can download the apps for kindle and Kobo onto your smartphone, computer or tablet.)

A few years ago I encountered Carrie Clevenger  on a forum belonging to the gothic metal band A Pale Horse Named Death.

We had our love of music in common, but then she dropped that she’d been running a popular blog serial entitled Crooked Fang, in which the main character was a bass-playing vampire named Xan Marcelles.

My interest was piqued, I took a look, and instantly fell in love with the smart-mouthed muso vamp who has a penchant for finding trouble. My inner editor made grabby fingers, and I convinced Carrie to let me be her editor.

The rest, as they say, is history. Crooked Fang blends elements of noir with gritty urban fantasy underpinned with its own soundtrack. 

If you preferred Anne Rice’s vision for vampire-kind, then Carrie is a new generation to continue the classic legacy. A hint: she’s also a fantastic writer of flash fiction, which she puts up at her blog, and has a short story coming out in Paul D Brazill’ Drunk on the Moon II anthology.

With all the people going on about the BDSM Series We Will Not Name, I thought it necessary to point out that the genre has a long-standing history before the phenomenon that swept through bookstores globally, and that there are loads of authors who are deserving of notice.

Cari Silverwood  is one such author, and I’ve beta-read many of her BDSM erotica titles, and officially edited her historical BDSM erotica novel, Rough Surrender.

If the idea of a woman pilot in Cairo, Egypt during the early 1900s, who experiences her sexual awakening at the hands of a master tickles your fancy, then give Rough Surrender a try.

But invest in a fan too while you’re at it. You’re going to need it.

Cari has struck the perfect balance between writing scorching heat and a beautiful romance with more than just a coat-hanger of a plot.

Her most recent release, The Dom with a Safeword, was co-written with Sorcha Black and Leia Shaw, and is worth picking up if ménage a trois is your thing.

I honestly can’t get enough of The Wolf Within series by Amy Lee Burgess.

A few years ago I started reading her The Circle blog serial and ended up convincing her to write something to submit to me when I was still an editor at Lyrical Press.

We started out with book one, Beneath the Skin, and while I’ve moved on to being a freelance editor, I still beta read for Amy, and she keeps putting out more about the much-loved wolf shifter Stanzie.

Amy writes with a lyrical honesty, offers unforgettable characters and stories within stories that gradually grow in depth and breadth.

She is a keen observer of human (and wolf) behaviour, and will leave you breathless with wonder or clutching at the edge of your seat worrying whether Stanzie will pull through her ordeals. 

Sonya Clark  is one of the slush pile finds I absolutely adore.

I edited her first novella, Bring it On, as well as her first novel-length work, Mojo Queen, whose follow-up, Red House, continues the doings of her magical-wielding protagonist, Roxanne Mathis, and her vampire sidekick Daniel.
There’s also a devious sexy sorcery, who’s often a cause of much trouble.

Sonya loves music, which is a large reason why I was attracted to her writing in the first place, and not only does she weave a fantastic story and memorable characters, but she takes you on a journey that will have your mouse hand straying to YouTube to hear the songs about which she enthuses.

This lady is a fresh voice in the urban fantasy genre who will soon be giving the established traditional names a run for their money. Yes. She is destined for big things.

DC Petterson lurks about the edges of social media, so he isn’t going to be one of those authors who shouts out about how wonderful his writing is, so I’m going to have to be the one to do it because A Melancholy Humour is one of my best editor finds.

If you love Stephen King and Dean Koontz, you’re going to enjoy DC Petterson.

He explores ancient Italian folklore combined with the werewolf mythos, and evokes a world in scent and sound.

I can hear the Italian-American accents and feel like I’m right *there* with the characters.

Walk in the footsteps of Vince, an erstwhile NYC profiler who’s unwillingly thrust into the centre of a hunt to find a serial killer in his childhood home.

Vince has his own demons to confront, while a dangerous predator threatens those whom he holds dear.

Ireland is a country filled with history, magic and mystery, and I recently had the privilege of editing storyteller Rab Swannock Fulton’s novella, Transformation. Be warned: this might start out as a romance, but it’s not.

This dark, somewhat cautionary tale skirts at the edge of madness and obsession, and incorporates Irish myths.

Donnacha finds the love of his life, but he’s threatened by a malignant goat-like entity that makes a mockery of the deep, abiding love the young man feels for his lover.

I could almost hear Rab’s voice as I read, and I remain simultaneously haunted and enchanted by this tale.

If you have a chance to visit the Emerald Isle, do yourself a favour and make an effort to attend one of Rab’s shows. He is a consummate teller of tales. 

Sea of Trees by Robert James Russell is a review book that landed on my desk this year which left me chilled and haunted.

Aokigahara is known as the Sea of Trees in Japan, and is also a suicide hotspot in the country.

It’s unclear as to why Aokigahara is so popular for the suicidal, but it’s a site that’s been used for many years, so perhaps it has crept into the subconscious of the Japanese people, and Robert interweaves his primary story arc with vignettes exploring the deaths of a number of folk who seek their end in the spooky forest.

This is not an easy story to read but it’s by far one of the most memorable finds I’ve encountered, and has become firmly lodged as a favourite.  

If you’re as tired as I am of glittery vampires that try to live a “vegetarian” diet, Serenity J Banks offers the antidote.

The Left Hand is a return to classic horror, where the vampire is a relentless, bloodthirsty beast, and a mysterious, enigmatic man known as Calif Cryste is the only one who stands between humankind and a plague of monsters.

This is a rich, textured read that toys with the messiah archetype in a world shot to hell.

I’ve marked The Left Hand as a potential reread, because I suspect there’s a lot going on here that I missed the first time round. Unsettling and violent, this story also offers strangeness in lucid detail of mythic proportions.

Ever wondered about Asia’s upcoming fantasy authors? J Damask brings Singapore’s magic to life in her offerings Wolf at the Door and Obsidian Moon, Obsidian Eye.

This is the real thing, an author who straddles the vast heritage of the mystical Orient with the well-trod paths of the West, and who better to bring this vision to life than someone who draws her heritage from both?

Damask and I have walked a long path as author and editor, and I’ve grown to love her wolf shifter Jan, and the huge cast of assorted Myriad (as she names her supernaturals).

Tigers, vampires, fairies, dragons—you’ll find them populating the streets of Damask’s Singapore.

She understands why I love the sound of the wind in casuarina trees.  

Aleksandr Voinov has completely stolen my heart, because not only does he write sexually charged m/m situations, but he backs this up with thrilling storytelling where the plot is as important as the interaction between the lead characters.

Dark Soul 1 and 2 are the first two in a series of his that I’ve read so far detailing forbidden pleasures in the Italian mafia.

Mafia boss Stefano and hired killer Silvio share an undeniable attraction in a world where the slightest mistake can have devastating consequences. Aleks has me at the edge of my seat with his writing.
Not only is he a master of suspense, but he understands the art of writing scorching scenes.

Give him a chance if you’re looking for an introduction to the genre. This author knows exactly what he’s doing and he’ll spoil you for all the others.
Bio: A Cape Town-based author, editor, blogger and reviewer, Nerine Dorman has a passion for the written word.

Feel free to query her for editing rates at

Stalk her on Twitter @nerinedorman.
Visit her blog.
Check out her Goodreads profile.


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