Indie authors, like myself, need all of the help we can get. One of the things that surprised me when I began the grim work of selling my books was that very little love came back at me from Indie bookstores. I mean, you’d think…

But there were a few kind souls out there that welcomed my work onto their shelves. Pilgrim’s Way in Carmel, CA, Tattered Cover in Denver and Chapter 1 Bookstore in Sun Valley, ID, where my novel Sun Valley Moon Mountains is set.

Last October Linda and I took a fishing trip to Ketchum. On our ‘rest day’ we ambled over to Chapter 1 and met Cheryl Welch Thomas, the owner. She is a charming, bright and attractive lady who happens to love books. She had stocked SVMM but not yet ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. I introduced myself and thanked her for putting SVMM on on her shelves. I told her that I had published Book 2 in the Ur Legend series, ‘The Girl from Ipanema,’ and would she consider stocking it. On the spot she ordered several copies.

Having thanked her, I talked a bit about the struggle to get your work in front of people, as an Indie author. She replied that there were several wonderful Indies whose work she carried. I asked her to select a couple and I would buy them and review them. Reviews, even bad ones sometimes, are gold to authors. Following is a review of Justin Bog’s ‘Sandcastle and Other Stories’.

Justin Bog has a great pedigree. He majored in English at Michigan and received an MFA from Bowling Green. Certainly a CV that I lack. And besides, he’s a pretty damned good writer.

If for no other reason than to experience the short story ‘Sandcastle’, I would recommend the book highly. Justin claims he writes ‘psychological stories’. HELLO? Talk about understatement. Sandcastle will blow you away. You will not be able to even remotely guess the tale’s denouement. Does Brenda, the main character,have some psychological issues? No, she’s just plain psychotic, though ‘free ranging’. ‘Nuff said about Sandcastle since we want no spoilers.

Jaqueline, in ‘Cats in Trees’, is also psychotic but more closely watched by her family. It is a VERY short story but the author again waits until the end to the reveal the extent of Jaqueline’s trauma. And, in ‘Under the Third Story Window’, Megan, who has suffered abuse, makes you actually feel her pain and isolation.

What I found most intriguing about Bogs’ stories was that the female characters leapt off of the page and grabbed you by the throat. There seemed to be remarkable insight into the female psyche. Interestingly, his male characters fell a bit flat for me. Oh, the stories went somwhere but the destination was far less intriguing and revealing. I write about strong women in my books. I wonder what women think about the way Bogs and I sketch the female point of view. Are we on point or just ‘mansplaining’?

In any event I believe we both think we understand women. But Bog’s women, and characters, seem to be isolated. My characters are always trying to connect. Curious how we both can both delve into the individual psyche from two very different points of view. I suppose that is what makes writing, and reading, such fun.