It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.
So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some September books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.
Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have quite a bit of horror (it’s Halloween, after all), science fiction, space opera, planetary romance, military science fiction, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, post-apocalyptic fiction, near future science fiction, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, weird westerns, prison planets, interplanetary wars, lost worlds, were-bears, aliens, zombies, immortal demon hunters, demons that feed on fame and fortune, wild west mages, Boston witches, biotech specialists, politicians moonlighting as necromancers and much more.
As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.
And now on to the books without further ado:
Zero Hour Part 2: Badlands by Eamon Ambrose:
A soldier transformed begins a perilous journey with an unlikely companion to find answers in this thrilling continuation of the hit short story Zero Hour.
Odd Tree Quarterly, edited by Joel Ansel:
Odd Tree Quarterly, your source for quality short fiction, presents its fantastic debut issue: a fabulous Halloween Special.
Featuring nineteen stories, a humorous essay and amazing art, this issue has much to offer the discerning fan of short fiction including:
Meet Mister Boogley by Jill Hand
Dean thought he could finance his dreams of making it as an MMA fighter by scamming the elderly Edna McGintley. How wrong he was. Because Edna’s not as defenseless as she seems: she has someone watching out for her. All the fighting skill in the world might not help Dean when he meets Mister Boogley.
Collateral Damage by Robert Stahl
A lethal threat literally hangs over the planet’s head and the outcome may hang on General Rex Perkins and his willingness to send his best friend, the most qualified person for the job, to die. Things are only complicated by the fact that his choice may not be entirely selfless.
The Girl on the Stump by jb raines
Ten-year-old Henry makes a new friend over the summer; a girl he meets near his home who spends her time siting on a stump, never speaking. As the long, bright days go by however, the question arises: is this girl real, or the mere flickering of childhood fantasy? Or is she something else entirely?
Don’t Be Afraid of the Lights by Die Booth
Thanks to a careless childhood prank, Bill has gone through his life with a debilitating fear of spiders. Luckily his wife, Barabara has the answer: a visit to the hypnotist Agnes Crawford. Full of hope to finally be rid of the source of his greatest anxiety, Bill is about to learn that to worst terrors don’t crawl about on eight legs–they live entirely in your mind.
Beer, Wine & Spirits by Jon Etter
Sharon’s Pub is a very special drinking establishment where one can come for a brew, a bite to eat–and directions to the afterlife.
Bill Ornette sets out from Sharon’s on a mission to confront his deceased wife over a past transgression he hasn’t forgiven her for. Along the way, he has to deal with the bad attitude of the boatman on the River Styx, a guy who bares a striking resemblance to Santa Claus, and something completely different from the airing of grievances he came for.
Also Fiction and Art By
Mark Mills, Lee A. Forman, Gillian French, Voss Foster, S.C. Hayden, Floyd Looney, Sarina Dorie, T.C. Powell, Kevin Bannigan Jr., Jon Chan, Benjamin Sperduto, Ross Baxter, Cassandra Ray-Stanley, Joel Ansel, and featuring original art by Jeremiah Morelli
Children of the Stone Gods by Cora Buhlert:
This is a collection of seven tales on the borderline of science fiction and fantasy. Seven stories of lost worlds, where carcasses of crashed spaceships litter the landscape and science and technology have long turned into myth and legend.
Enter a world of sacrifices and stone gods, where people live in the hulls of the great space arks that brought their ancestors to this planet, where four-armed assassins ply their trade and wandering priests warn of great cataclysms, where gods lie sleeping inside mountains and strange lights shine in the sky by night.
This is a collection of seven short science fiction tales of 12000 words or approximately 40 print pages altogether.
Moore Hollow by J.D. Byrne:
Ben Potter’s life is a shambles. As a journalist he’s hit rock bottom, writing dreck about monsters and ghouls to make ends meet after a big story blew up in his face. As a son he’s a disappointment, unwilling to follow his father, grandfather, and great grandfather into the family business. As a father, he’s mostly just not there.
Now a new assignment could change all that. All he has to do is go from London to the hills of West Virginia to investigate the strangest of stories his great grandfather told. Did a sleazy politician really raise the dead to try and win an election? And if he did, what happened to the zombies? Could they still exist? Ben needs to find out, to solve the mystery and find a way to get his life back on track.
But finding the answer only presents Ben with a whole new batch of problems. Does he use what he learns to put his life back on track? Or will he be compelled to do the right thing, even if it leaves his life a mess?
The hardest part of a mystery is deciding what to do once you’ve solved it.
White Sky by Lara Campbell McGehee:
In a forgotten village on the windswept tundra of a small planetary colony, a young man called Jem is the only Sanndai. He knows nothing of his own people but the stories told by the Torvik villagers: stories of how the Sanndai came from the sky, bringing weapons that made people disappear, and banished the Torviks to this harsh land.
Now that Jem is grown, the elderly midwife who raised him can no longer protect him. Strong-willed and defiant, Jem struggles to prove his worth, but he’s shunned by most of the villagers. A man with mad eyes who seems to know something of Jem’s unknown past despises him most of all—a brutal man who could kill Jem without remorse.
If staying alive means leaving, Jem must have the courage to seek a new life outside the only world he has ever known—and to face the people he knows only from tales of their arrogance and cruelty.
Caught in the Glow by Eva Chase:
She’ll risk her heart to save his soul…
When she was a child, Avery Harmen watched her father die at the hands of a Glower—a breed of demon that feeds on dreams of fame and glory. Now she secretly protects the rising stars of Los Angeles from the demons that prey on them, determined to make sure her clients never suffer the same fate.
Then Avery finds herself assigned to Colin Ryder, a young indie rocker who just landed a major label deal. Colin is cocky, rebellious, a brilliant musician, and already in the Glowers’ sights. He’s also far too hot for Avery to ignore the chemistry between them—especially when she gets to know the tender side behind his celebrity facade. Though Avery knows she’s falling too fast, she’s willing to risk heartbreak if fanning the flames of attraction distracts Colin from his Glower-tempting antics. But Colin is keeping a secret of his own, one so big it will put both her heart and his soul on the line.
The first book in The Glower Chronicles, a steamy New Adult paranormal series.
Rider’s Revenge by Alessandra Clarke:
K’lrsa loves her life as a Rider for the White Horse Tribe. She spends her days hunting with her Amalanee horse, Fallion, and her nights avoiding her mother’s attempts to settle her down.
Even though there are hints that the world around her is changing, K’lrsa thinks her life is perfect.
Until the day her father is brutally murdered and she sets out to avenge him.
As she follows the vision the Great Father Sun showed her, determined to kill the man she thinks is responsible at any cost, even her own life, she’s haunted by dreams of a beautiful young man she can never have and a life she was never going to live.
Alone in a world vastly different from the one she’s known, she’ll have to decide: Avenge her father or follow her heart.
Will she succeed in destroying the Toreem Daliphate and killing the man responsible for her father’s death? Only the gods know.
A Witch’s Feast by C.N. Crawford:
“There are new rules governing the country–namely, no magic. But Fiona Forzese has never been good with rules.”
After a ghostly army terrorized Boston, the Ranulf family say they’ll help Fiona and her classmates finish up junior year. They say their old Virginia plantation is a safe haven. All Fiona and her secret coven have to do is show up to a few math and English classes.
It should be a perfect solution. And it would be, if the Ranulfs weren’t members of a witch-hunting cult.
As Fiona digs deeper into the Ranulf’s past, she learns a dark truth that shocks her to her core. But it isn’t only the Ranulfs who are keeping secrets, and as the witch-hunting cult closes in, Fiona is forced to confront the demons of her own past.
Archangel Down by C. Gockel:
In the year 2432, humans think they are alone in the universe. They’re wrong.
Commander Noa Sato plans a peaceful leave on her home planet Luddeccea … but winds up interrogated and imprisoned for her involvement in the Archangel Project. A project she knows nothing about.
Professor James Sinclair wakes in the snow, not remembering the past twenty four hours, or knowing why he is being pursued. The only thing he knows is that he has to find Commander Sato. A woman he’s never met.
A military officer from the colonies and a civilian from Old Earth, they couldn’t have less in common. But they have to work together to save the lives of millions–and their own.
Every step of the way they are haunted by the final words of a secret transmission:
The archangel is down.
City of Mages by Kyra Halland:
A nightmare come true – Silas is taken by mage hunters. Determined to rescue the man she loves, Lainie braves the perilous passage through the Gap to follow him and his captors into the mage-ruled land of Granadaia. There, she discovers a betrayal she never imagined and a deep-rooted conspiracy that threatens the safety and freedom of the settlers in the Wildings. Alone in a strange land, with no one she can trust, Lainie must find a way to free Silas and put an end to the danger facing their beloved Wildings.
This is book 5 of the Daughter of the Wildings western fantasy romance series.
Ranger of Mayat by Jim Johnson:
The Scales Are Out of Balance
When Tjety, an exiled Ranger of Mayat, discovers a ransacked village along the lawless northern Kekhmet frontier, he marshals his training and divine hekau magic to hunt down the ruthless cultists responsible for the attack. But can he find them before their prisoners are twisted into mindless slaves serving a necromancer bent on shattering the tenuous balance between order and chaos?
Ranger of Mayat is the first episode in PISTOLS AND PYRAMIDS, an all-new monthly series best described as an ancient Egyptian-themed weird western with magic. And mummies. Lots of mummies.
The Sane King by Matt Knott:
Heroes are not born, but forged.
A lone warrior takes up the cause of a hunted boy. A desperate nation seeks to bolster its fragile army. A malevolent god feasts on the nightmares of men and seeks to bring ruin to all.
The wanderer, Rayle, stands against the preternatural forces lurking on the edges of civilization and sanity. In the bleak lands of the Wrack, he rescues Bray from brutal men. Swearing to help the boy seek vengeance for the death of his brothers, Rayle finds himself locked in a savage contest that tests both his strength of arms and will.
The Younger Union, losing its long war against a tyrannical enemy is moved to enforce ancient contracts. Tensions build as an idyllic farming community becomes the stage upon which the future of the north will be decided.
When events collide, and a monstrous power threatens to drown their world in blood, Rayle and his unlikely allies must fight to stop the tides of carnage. To win they must first survive, and to survive they must overcome their fears, doubts, and regrets.
They must unite and set aside differences, and in doing so they may stand against the madness of The Sane King.
Lost with a Grizzly by Desirée Moon:
Out in the cold and escaping from a horrific past…
Nina Jacoby makes a desperate escape and runs away from her abusive past. When she stops to catch her breath, she finds herself in Black Oak forest. A home to shifters in the icy Alaskan wilderness. She meets Rafe Hart–a grizzly who runs a lumber yard nearby. Immediately, he’s entranced by her fuzzy curls, and luscious curves–eager to seek out a mate. But not if his brother Axle has anything to say about it!
Axle can’t stand Nina and her weak-puny-human ways. The two of them hate each other instantly, but slowly Nina starts to chip away at his ice-cold heart. Nina’s about to find out that living with grizzlies is not as easy as it seems. With these two bears at her beck and call, just how will poor Nina keep herself warm through those snowy winter nights?
Finding the Phoenix by Caitlin O’Connor:
Descended from humans and a vanished race of elemental beings, only the Awakened know the truth about our world. Only they can hold back the fanatic Handmaidens of the Skaath Diurga–shadow creatures born from an ancient betrayal.
However, the Circle of Awakened is incomplete without the Child of Heaven: a human destined to Wield the Spirit element. Before she can Awaken, she must die.
Heaven has no memory of dying, except the experience of death itself. It’s that memory, of a place called ‘The Between’, that convinces her the man claiming to be her Guardian might not be completely crazy. Besides, even crazy is better than the life she’s leaving behind to be the Circle’s Wielder of Spirit. All she has to worry about now is her training, and figuring out how to fit in with the Awakened.
Tragedy strikes when one of the Guardians is killed, and ulterior motives thrust Heaven into the middle of the Circle’s quest for justice. She’ll have to decide just how far she’ll go for the people she’s come to care about.
A Vanishing Glow by Alexis Radcliff:
It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife.
Only one man holds the promise of a brighter future: Nole Ryon, the crown prince. When his childhood friend Jason Tern answers his call for aid, the two of them set out to fight for the change their country needs in order to survive, even as shadowy foes frustrate their efforts. But soon, Jason and Nole’s idealistic mission of hope becomes a furious manhunt for a political murderer as the nation balances on the precipice of a country-wide civil war. Can they cut through the threads of intrigue to discover their true enemy before everything is lost?
Sweeping from the ancient cities at the heart of the nation to the dusty edges of the war-torn frontier, A Vanishing Glow tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and assassins, friends and lovers, who come together in a time of epic struggle. Here a brave officer risks everything to win back his estranged father’s respect; a brilliant young engineer attempts to atone for her sins; a war-weary commander tries to pick up the pieces of the life he lost; and a man touched by the gods struggles to prepare a nation for the coming of an ancient evil which only he can see. In the dying light of a once-prosperous society, amid twisting plots, suffering and betrayal, lost love and shattered dreams, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will taste the fruits of victory and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?
Prison Planet by Jim Rudnick:
“After a failed planetary rebellion, the rebel leader and his men are all given life sentences on Halberd, the RIM Confederacy prison planet and sent to the maximum island penitentiary—a prison that has never had a successful escape.
And under his Admirals orders, Captain Tanner Scott has also been sent to do RIM Navy duty on the planet with the mission to give up his alcoholism dependency. While he knows that this is what is expected of him by the Admiral, he finds it more difficult to do that he’d ever imagined.
Tanner meets a woman—the sister of the rebel leader and while he falls in love with her, he is not sure that the feeling is mutual. Yet he tries to straighten out his life and his drinking but instead he is faced with the choice of a lifetime—love or death.
Against incredible odds in the middle of a prison planet escape, he makes his choice . . . and more than his own life depends upon that choice . . . forever changing the future of the RIM!”
Devil’s Thumb by S.M. Schmitz:
After a fateful decision in Baton Rouge, Colin and Anna move to Boulder where they hope they will get some much needed time off from hunting. But the demons who wanted retribution in Baton Rouge have followed them, and this time, they’re not alone.
This is the sequel to The Immortals.
Beyond Regeneration by Jenny Schwartz:
It’s complicated. Charley Rowdon knew Dr. Jack Bradshaw years ago, before the accident, before she lost her left arm. Before her husband died. Jack is an internationally respected regeneration specialist, and he’s just made the breakthrough of the century: using QNA to grow non-human bio-enhancements on people, including himself. Think superhuman senses, claws, and even, wings.
However, when, as a journalist, Charley accepts Jack’s invitation to accompany him to his private clinic, a luxury resort on the beautiful south west coast of Australia, she finds more than medical science and altered humanity.
Murder, espionage and a scientific development that Jack never ever predicted will challenge Charley to shed her grief and fear, and solve a mystery beyond imagining.
But as Charley regenerates her life, how much will she risk by loving again?
“Beyond Regeneration” is a novel of old grief and new beginnings. The science is fabulous, more fiction than fact, but the emotions are real. This is the story of a woman badly hurt by life who finds the courage to embrace the unbelievable, and love again.
All the Things I’ve Lost by Hollis Shiloh:
I am not from this world. I don’t know where I was from originally. When our pod landed, I was the only one to survive, and my memory was damaged.
That day, I lost the man I think I must have loved.
I don’t age, and I’m far too strong compared to these humans around me, but even so, I fear their finding out the truth about me. I try to protect the ones I can, but I am weak when it comes to saving them — or even just not hurting them by my ignorance and strength.
And now for the first time in decades, I’ve met a man like myself from another world — the world where we both hatched. I wonder what he can tell me about myself . . . and what I dare ask without giving away the fact that I remember nothing?
Mercenary Magic by Ella Summers:
Long ago, the Dragon Born were hailed as the most powerful mages in the world. Today, they are condemned as abominations and have been hunted to near extinction.
Sera Dering has spent her entire life hiding her forbidden magic from the supernatural council who would kill her for the crime of being born. After years of drifting, she’s finally found a new life working as a low-grade mercenary for San Francisco’s oldest monster cleanup guild. She’s safe—as long as she pretends to be human.
But a dark and mysterious power is taking control of mages’ minds, and Sera’s guild sends her in to investigate. To save her city from a magical apocalypse, she must work together with a sexy and deadly mage who represents the very council that sentenced the Dragon Born to death. And if he finds out what she is, she’ll be next…
Mercenary Magic is the first book in the Dragon Born Serafina urban fantasy series.
All Hallows Eve by Stella Wilkinson:
It’s Halloween and Eve is stuck babysitting a group of fourteen year old girls. When she tries to prevent them from performing some magical ceremony, the last thing she expects is to find herself trapped in the Underworld. Not only that, but she is apparently there as a date for The Lord of the Dead. The fact that he is hotter than Hades makes no difference to Eve, she knows she must resist his dark charm or she’ll never make it back to school on Monday morning.
A fun short story filled with Halloween folklore and mythology.
Terminal Reset Omnibus: The Coming of the Wave by A.E. Williams:
Dr. David Harding Stared in the Mirror, and Could Not Believe What He Was Seeing!
Dr. David Harding is an Astrophysicist who discovers a mysterious force on a collision course with Earth. As The Wave hits our planet, its effects have devastating consequences. Governments topple. The world is poised on the brink of nuclear devastation. The effects are of an apocalyptic scale.
The ongoing strife between the countries of Earth, coupled with the ominous goals of an ancient scourge create a hazardous background.
Harding sets out with his catatonic wife to survive in this brave new world. But when his former lover and colleague, Dr. Tatania Golovanov, contacts him via radio, he is faced with choices he never expected to have to make.
The physical changes wrought by The Wave create massive upheavals in the traditional ways of previous generations.
Can these long ago lovers salvage their feelings from the ruins of a drastically altered world? Will Harding abandon the woman to whom he vowed his life? Will they all survive the daily challenges of living in a post-apocalyptic Earth the likes of which have never before been described in any science fiction story?
Terminal Reset is a story set in today’s world. Experience a world populated with complex characters, each learning to cope and adapt to the new reality imposed by the effects of The Wave.