alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
So I have recently actually created a Smashwords account. Looking for recommendations; please see below.

Since I don’t do well at remember to check things and tend to anxiety-brain a bit about my different accounts, this is a significant thing for me. I am trying to shift more of my reading away from Amazon. I want to support more authors who are marginalized in the U.S. And I'm in a bit of a bumpy patch for fanfic reading for purely personal reasons. I've still got loads and loads of used books and favorite stores to find more. However, I'd like to develop, for Smashwords specifically, a reasonably extensive ‘I would probably like to read this’ list.

So, keeping in mind that I generally, arbitrarily, and oversimplified-ly prefer:

1. frequently but not always, fiction to nonfiction, poetry, plays, or genre-smash

1a. sf&f stories and other works that take me away from my current place, time, and cultural assumptions

2. protagonists or at least supporting characters that are one or more of queer, people of color, disabled, neurodivergent, or nonhuman

3. both ‘gen’ fiction and other-than-gen fiction that could include explicit content, but not at the expense of the existence of plot

3a. if there is a romantic or erotic plot or significant subplot, one that isn’t primarily mono-cis-allo-heteronormative at the expense of, say, ALL OF the possibilities of: unpartnered, solo, and celibate characters; poly and non-monogamous characters; asexual or demisexual characters; non-romantic relationships such as those of protagonists to their children, elder relatives, and other family including chosen family and true companions; non-romantic non-familial relationships such as peers, helpers, trench buddies, friends, pals, rivals, etc, etc

3b. if there is an adventure or discovery plot, one that isn’t at the expense of characters behaving in character, science-babble or magic-babble remaining internally consistent given its givens, or violence being the first and only solution

4. significant character development and three- or more-dimensional main characters, but also a plot that isn’t solely driven by internal or relationship conflicts

5. not 100% or even 90% depressing or enraging content

6. grammatical, coherent, structurally sound, and otherwise well written works

6a. a clear authorial voice with some beauty to the language, but not a bunch of literary frills that don’t advance the story

7. works by authors who have the skill level, or close to it, to be traditionally published, but by reason of their identities or their chosen type of works, are likely to be pushed out of those markets

∞. and reserving the right to toss, undermine, or alter any of the above if I just happen to like something anyway…

What book or stories would you recommend I buy or ‘buy’ for free on Smashwords? What authors do you think fit my description, and how do you know? If you can, specifying free or paid would be helpful, along with any relevant context about the author(s), and why you like the book(s).

I also have other accounts and sources of reading material, but right now I’m asking about things available on Smashwords.

Date: 29 Jul 2017 21:38 (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
I'm all but contractually obligated to recommend Anne B. Walsh. She hits about six and a half of those seven bullets. All paid, except Star of Wonder but you really want to read Killdeer first. The chosen-family and other non-romantic relationship bits are consistently really powerful.

(Oh good gods has it been five years since I was editing that for her? Four and a half on the other one? Aaaaaaaaa. We are never getting book two of either of those, are we...)
Edited Date: 29 Jul 2017 21:41 (UTC)

Date: 30 Jul 2017 01:05 (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Oh, we can self-promote? But I am afraid to actually crack open one of my paper copies of the thing to see just how horrid my half is...and I'm not gonna try to remember that password to update the bio, either... :P

Date: 29 Jul 2017 21:57 (UTC)
ephemera: celtic knotwork style sitting fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] ephemera
at the risk of self-promotion... https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/16620

With no risk of self-promotion - Charles De Lint has released a lot of his output via Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/cdelint) and I think he hits many/most of your desired features.

Date: 30 Jul 2017 01:53 (UTC)
across_space_and_time: A nebula shifting in rainbow hues from red to blue (Rainbow Galaxy)
From: [personal profile] across_space_and_time
Seconding Charles de Lint. So far people here have read Memory and Dream and Forests of the Heart, both of which were amazing. We're working on The Newford Stories collection. He's been recommended by a friend of ours.

But I have no idea what Smashwords is or who would be on it so that's as far as I can give recs. :/

- Nobody

Date: 29 Jul 2017 22:24 (UTC)
jessie_c: Me in my floppy hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] jessie_c
T Kingfisher is Ursula Vernon's [1] alternate "writing for adults" identity. Her books are tasty, and largely meet your criteria. The Raven and the Reindeer is a particularly nice queer take on The Snow Queen.

Melissa Scott has written some excellent queer fiction. The great thing about her stories is that the story comes first; they just happen to have believable queer characters in them.

[1] If you haven't discovered Digger, then you have a treat in store!

Date: 29 Jul 2017 22:50 (UTC)
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jewelfox
Seconding the Digger recommendation!

I'll also recommend Nekomimi Land. It may be difficult to get through (TW: non-explicit rape and suicide), but I feel that it's very worth it. It's the kind of story that we wish we'd written.

It's a response to / deconstruction of Nekopara, otaku culture's objectification of women, furry transformation stories, the Maid RPG, and the 2016 US election. By way of catgirls. Brave, terrifying, and sometimes even kind catgirls.

There are also Japanese / fox mythology things which are relevant to our interests.
Edited (geeze sorry about all the edits) Date: 29 Jul 2017 22:53 (UTC)

Date: 30 Jul 2017 07:35 (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
Lemme see what I've got in my Smashwords library that I enjoyed...

Lavie Tidhar (bonus: editor of the Apex Book of World SF collections)
MeiLin Miranda
Joyce Chng
Jenna Moran

And at the far end of what you asked for, I find Circlet Press runs surprisingly high on plot for an erotica press. Catt Kingsgrave did a lesbian selkie romance for them I really liked, frex.

Date: 31 Jul 2017 09:30 (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
May I recommend "The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho? It hits most of your bullet points and although it deals with difficult content/choices it is not at all depressing. Not free, though.

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