The Return of the Trolls and a New Release: The Cursed Arm of Driftwood Beach

I’ve been somewhat missing in action these past few weeks, because I’ve been hard at work finishing the Silencer Christmas novella St. Nicholas of Hell’s Kitchen, so I can publish it before the various e-book retailers close down for the holidays (which happens up to two weeks before Christmas for some of them).

Over at my personal blog, I also have some seasonal photos of German Christmas markets coming up as well as my comments on recent genre debates coming up. And here at the Pegasus Pulp blog, I have another post on new and old pulp fiction planned.

What is more, the troll-themed anthology For Whom the Bell Trolls: 25 Tales of Terror, Triumph and Trolls, edited by Lindy Moone and John L. Monk is available again. My story in the anthology is called “When Life Gives You Trolls, Make Lemonade” and it’s about a lonely troll looking for companionship on the Internet.

For Whom the Bell Trolls by Lindy MooneIt’s a Smorgasbord of Trolls!
Funny, touching, titillating and suspenseful, there’s a story for every adult reader in For Whom the Bell Trolls, a unique, illustrated “antrollogy” by 24 international authors. Arranged from light to meaty fare, the book’s “menu” offers up fanciful and farcical stories, family-oriented tales, romance, mystery, even magically surreal literary stories — starring all sorts of trolls, from the all-too-real Internet variety to the man-eating, bridge-dwelling trolls of legend.

Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India and Amazon Mexico.

Royalties go to charity (Equality Now), so what are you waiting for? Grab your copy today.

However, I also have a new release in a different series (well, it is a series now) to announce, namely the sequel to The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock and the second story in the Hallowind Cove series about a fog-shrouded seaside town that is a magnet for weird happenings.

I initially wrote The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock as a standalone, though I always intended to reuse the town of Hallowind Cove, should the right story idea come along. And eventually, the right idea did come along, while I was doing the 2016 July short story challenge.

Also in July, I visited Bremerhaven. Though Bremerhaven is a seaside city, it is not at all like the fictional Hallowind Cove. For starters, it’s a lot bigger, something of a tourist attraction and also a major sea port.

One of Bremerhaven’s main tourist attractions and one of its four big museums is the German Maritime Museum and its exterior grounds at the so-called museum harbour, which hold those exhibits too big for the museum proper. Most of those exterior exhibits are historical ships (you can see some of them in this post). However, there are also buoys, smokestacks, cranes, a harpoon and a wooden sculpture called the sailor’s arm, which is basically an almost six meter long wooden arm.

When I’m in Bremerhaven and have enough time, I like walking around the touristy Havenwelten neighbourhood and the museum harbour. And so I was wandering among the historical ships at the museum harbour, primed to generate story ideas because of the July short story challenge, when I walked past the sailor’s arm. And suddenly, the sculpture sparked an idea. “What if the arm wasn’t just an offbeat work of art, but the actual arm of some kind of giant? And what if the arm wasn’t happy about being separated from its body?”

On the train, I mused a bit more about that idea and suddenly realised that this was a Hallowind Cove story. So, once I got home, I sat down and started writing what would eventually become The Cursed Arm of Driftwood Beach.

In the story, we meet some old friends, namely Paul, Old Hank and Hugo from The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock, again and also encounter some more of the residents of Hallowind Cove.

So prepare to be thrilled by:

The Cursed Arm of Driftwood Beach
The Cursed Arm of Driftwood BeachA disembodied arm terrifies a seaside town…

Strange things keep happening in the permanently fog shrouded seaside town of Hallowind Cove, earning it the nickname “Harbour of the Weird”.

When a beachcomber finds a giant wooden arm on the beach, the people of Hallowind Cove are excited about a new addition to the town museum’s collection.

But the wooden arm has a mind of its own – and the tendency to go walkabout by night…

This is a short story of 2400 words or approximately 10 pages in the Hallowind Cove series, but may be read as a standalone.

More information.
Length: 2400 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for November 2016

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’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 Oktober 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 a whole lot of horror this month, but also urban fantasy, portal fantasy, YA fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic science fiction, dystopian fiction, paranormal romance, gay werewolves, aliens, ghosts, FBI witches, aliens, southern monsters, sentient zombies, pods, starships, newcomers, clockwork alchemists and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

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:

Southern Monsters by Cora BuhlertSouthern Monsters by Cora Buhlert:

Three tales of monsters and terror in the Louisiana bayous.

When a young bride goes missing on her wedding day in Acadiana, the locals blame the Terror, the legendary monster that stalks the Crimson Bayou.
Remy Theriault does not believe in the Terror and he’s pretty sure the bride has done a runner. But the groom is his cousin and family is family. So Remy goes out to look for the runaway bride, only to find that sometimes, the old legends are true…

When their car crashes into the bayou on a dark Louisiana night, the swamp creature known only as Big Puffball might just be one family’s salvation…

When fishing boats go missing on the Mississippi River Delta, few people link these disappearances to the mysterious light that lit up the Louisiana sky only weeks before. But an astronomer from Tulane University makes the connection and discovers the horror that is the sphere that ate the Mississippi delta.

This is a collection of three short horror stories of 7700 words or approximately 27 print pages altogether.

End Game by Lindsay BurokerEnd Game by Lindsay Buroker:

Alisa Marchenko has reunited with her daughter, and even though she hasn’t figured out how to get Jelena to accept Leonidas yet, she dreams of the three of them starting a new life together. They can return the Star Nomad to its original purpose of running freight and staying out of trouble (mostly).

Before that can happen, Alisa must fulfill the promise she made to Jelena: that she and her crew will retrieve young Prince Thorian, the boy who has become Jelena’s best friend. But Thorian was kidnapped by the rogue Starseer Tymoteusz, the man who wants to use the Staff of Lore to take over the entire system—and the man who may have the power to do it. Alisa doesn’t know why he kidnapped Thorian, but Tymoteusz once promised to kill the prince, so she fears they don’t have much time.

Unfortunately, Tymoteusz hasn’t left a trail of breadcrumbs. Finding him will be difficult, and even if they’re successful, facing him could be suicidal. To have a chance of surviving, Alisa will have to come up with her greatest scheme yet.

Haunted by Stacy ClaflinHaunted by Stacy Claflin:

The summer after graduation SHOULD have been the most exciting time of Mercy’s life.

Instead, on the way to an exciting overseas trip, she’s the only survivor of a tragic accident that claims the rest of her family. Then at her family’s memorial service, a ghostly hooded figure begins to follow her.

Her gorgeous new neighbor, Kit, who happens to run a paranormal blog, helps her discover what the hooded figure is hiding. Mercy thinks he’s angry that she survived the accident.

Could she be right?

Secret of the Master by Robert J. FluegelSecret of the Master by Robert J. Fluegel:

It’s been two weeks since Tommy Travers broke a deadly curse in his town, one he accidentally brought with him from the World of Books. Being trained how to control his new power is more important than ever. As Tommy enters a book under the guidance of his trainer Amelia, however, the repercussions of the curse are not yet over. A wizard escaped from the World of Books read Tommy’s mind and he knows where the Gifted are. If the evil wizard finds a way to unlock his magic, the warehouse, the Gifted—the world—will be his.

Tommy and his new friends must find a way to gain back all they’ve lost. But time is running out, and there’s something Amelia hasn’t told him. A secret—one that makes him, an amateur Gifted who’s hardly begun training, the only one who can defeat Mephitis before it’s too late.

In this sequel to Gift of the Master, join Tommy as he finds his true place among the Gifted and braves his most dangerous book yet.

Generation by J.J. GreenGeneration by J.J. Green:

Humankind entered the age of deep space travel two decades ago, and Earth’s megacorps rushed to exploit the rich resources to be found on unclaimed planets. Prospecting starships roam the galaxy, racing to be the first to lay their hands on the new-found source of wealth.

But unknown horrors lie at the reaches of the great expanse, ready to be awakened by unsuspecting starship crews.

Chief Security Officer Jas Harrington’s job is to protect her shipmates from hostile aliens on new worlds. For the efficient if quick-tempered Jas, that hasn’t been too hard up till now. But her captain is drug-addled, and he’s hungry for the bonuses he gets from finding valuable resources.

When the captain won’t listen to Jas’ fears about a mysterious planet, he is compromised by contact with a strange life form—a life form that threatens to take over the entire ship and return to Earth, where it can spread its deadly infection.

Now Jas is in a race against time, struggling to quarantine the alien infection and prevent the aliens from achieving their goal: Generation. She doesn’t realize it yet, but as she fights to save her crew, the future of all humanity hangs in the balance.

Generation is the first of ten books in the Shadows of the Void space opera serial.

PODS! by D.F. HollandPODS! and Other Supernatural Tales by D.F. Holland:

PODS AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL TALES will take you on a spine-tingling voyage, where you’ll encounter deadly sea creatures, cursed objects, custom-made Hells, alien killers and other worlds – all in the blink of a gargoyle’s eye!

Hang on tightly as you read this collection of chilling, supernatural horror and fantasy – from the author of TALES FROM THE BEAUMONT HOUSE.

 

Magical Probi by T.S. PaulMagical Probi by T.S. Paul:

Probitionary FBI Agent Agatha Blackmore has just finished three grueling years at the FBI Academy at Quantico. She mastered every skill and task they laid before her. She now begins an Internship of sorts working for the Magical Crimes Division. Assassination, Murder, and Betrayal await her. How will she do in the real world? Will her Magick be enough to save her?

 

 

Clockwork Alchemist by Sara C. RoethleClockwork Alchemist by Sara C. Roethle:

Arhyen is the self-declared finest thief in London. The mission was simple. Steal a journal from Fairfax Breckinridge, one of the greatest alchemists of the time.

Arhyen hadn’t expected to find Fairfax himself, with a dagger in his back. Nor had he expected his automaton daughter, Liliana. Suddenly entrenched in a mystery too great for him to fully comprehend, he must rely on the help of a wayward detective, and an automaton who claims she has a soul, to piece together the clues laid before them. Will Arhyen uncover the true source of Liliana’s soul in time, or will London plunge into a dark age of nefarious technology, where only the scientific will survive?

The Newcomer by Alasdair ShawThe Newcomer: Twelve Science Fiction Short Stories, edited by Alasdair Shaw:

From a young couple struggling to look after their baby to a new captain’s reluctance to take command of her ship, and from a sun-addled stranger’s appearance in town to the emergence of a sentient AI, the twelve tales presented here explore the central theme of an arrival by someone or something new.
There’s even an alien puppy.

The stories are:
Tithe by Griffin Carmichael
Exodus by Alec Hutson
First Bonding by Tom Germann
Ice Dreamer by J J Green
The Nanny by Cindy Carroll
Right Hand by Jonathan C Gillespie
What Make is Your Cat? by Richard Crawford
Kaxian Duty by Cherise Kelley
Lessons Learned by J Naomi Ay
The Humra by Laura Greenwood
The Hawk of Destiny’s Fist by James S Aaron
Repulse by Alasdair Shaw

Journey by Hollis ShilohJourney by Hollis Shiloh:

From the moment they meet, Nat feels a strong connection with the injured wolf…and later with the same gorgeous man. Nat is just an ordinary cop, with his own problems and insecurities, but if he can help Journey in any way, he’d love to.

He’d also love to date the sweet, handsome shifter, although that might be more complicated than he first thought. Two men navigate the waters of learning to trust, love, and accept themselves and each other, as they work to build a life together.

A Shifters and Partners Novel

Daughters of Death by Josiah UptonDaughters of Death by Josiah Upton:

In Zaul’s mind, the game is over. After giving himself up to the APA, his true identity now lays bare before the walls of the nation’s largest Hybrid Reanimate facility, where he will rot for the rest of his undead days under the watch of cruel containment officers. No more disguises, no more deceptions, no more pretending to be human… And no future with the girl he loves.

But Genny cannot accept this new reality as easily. Compelled to repay his sacrifice, she searches for any way possible get Zaul out of the Facility, allying with both the living and the undead to make it happen. Zaul also forges unlikely friendships when he joins the Brains Club, a privileged group of higher-functioning containees who enjoy a better diet, recreational opportunities, contact with the opposite sex – and unsettling attention from the Assistant Director of the APA.

As Genny’s world unravels, Zaul’s becomes stranger. But only one constant is guaranteed: Caesar Ortega is hell-bent on destroying them both. When death and temptation are around every corner, can you keep who you were alive?

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New Collection Available: Southern Monsters

Yes, I know that the US is electing a new president tomorrow (actually today, where I am), but elsewhere the world is still spinning on and I have a new release to announce.

It’s another collection of stories to come out of the 2016 July short story challenge. One thing I have noticed during the two July short story challenges I did so far is that certain themes seem to emerge. And for the 2016 challenge, one of those themes was stories about monsters in the Louisiana bayous.

Now stories about monsters in the Louisiana bayous might seem like an odd thing for someone from Germany to write. However, at the age of five I spent almost a year living in Biloxi, Mississippi, because my Dad had a job there, overseeing the building of some ships. I talk a bit more about that in the Afterword/Author’s Note of Southern Monsters.

The time spent on the US Gulf Coast certainly had an impact on me and like everything that was important to me at some point in my life, it sometimes comes out in my writing. And during the July short story challenge, it did.

So if you need some relief from the ongoing election circus, why don’t you pick up Southern Monsters?

Southern Monsters
Southern MonstersThree tales of monsters and terror in the Louisiana bayous.

When a young bride goes missing on her wedding day in Acadiana, the locals blame the Terror, the legendary monster that stalks the Crimson Bayou.
Remy Theriault does not believe in the Terror and he’s pretty sure the bride has done a runner. But the groom is his cousin and family is family. So Remy goes out to look for the runaway bride, only to find that sometimes, the old legends are true…

When their car crashes into the bayou on a dark Louisiana night, the swamp creature known only as Big Puffball might just be one family’s salvation…

When fishing boats go missing on the Mississippi River Delta, few people link these disappearances to the mysterious light that lit up the Louisiana sky only weeks before. But an astronomer from Tulane University makes the connection and discovers the horror that is the sphere that ate the Mississippi delta.

More information.
Length: 7700 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Introducing the “In Love and War” trailer

Yeah, it’s NaNoWriMo and all that and I really should be writing.

But instead, I found myself creating a trailer for my In Love and War space opera romance series, using a bunch of stock photos and public domain space art and assembling them into a trailer using the free program Stupeflix.

I talk a bit more about my process for making book and series trailers here. Basically, what you need are some stock images and a story to tell. If you’re a writer, you should already have the latter, and if you’re a publisher, you should know where to find the former.

So enjoy the In Love and War trailer. And buy the books, while you’re at it.

In Love and War

For more videos, visit my YouTube channel.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for October 2016

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”, this time with a special Halloween edition.

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 a whole lot of horror this month (well, it is Halloween), but also epic fantasy, urban fantasy, portal fantasy, historical fantasy, Asian fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic science fiction, Cyberpunk, science fiction romance, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, vampires, witches, monsters, aliens, superheroes, nanotechnology, outlaw hackers, smart bullets, perilous hunts, killer viruses, operatic zombies, Greek gods, barbarian generals, druid genes, Singaporean monsters, a whole lot of LGBT characters and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

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:

Bullet Holes by Cora BuhlertBullet Holes by Cora Buhlert

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

When a seemingly routine courier job turns out to be a trap, Anjali is hit by a so-called smart bullet, a Republican weapon that slowly and inevitably kills its victims. Mikhail is given a choice by his former commander Brian Mayhew: Surrender or watch the woman he loves die in excruciating pain.

It is a choice between two equally horrifying fates. But maybe, there is a third option…

This is a story of 6200 words or approx. 22 print pages in the In Love and War series, but may be read as a standalone.

Perilous Hunt by Lindsay BurokerPerilous Hunt by Lindsay Buroker:

After failing to catch up with her daughter Jelena so many times, Alisa’s optimism is battered, but her determination has never waned. She, Leonidas, and their eclectic crew are hunting down a Starseer research station in the heart of the Kir Asteroid belt—Jelena’s supposed location. Alisa vows that she will find her daughter if she has to search a million asteroids to do so.

But Jelena and her close friend, Prince Thorian, have attracted the interest of many factions, and the Star Nomad isn’t the only ship on the hunt…

Night Conjurings by Harvey ClickNight Conjurings: Tales of Terror by Harvey Click:

For fans of Clive Barker and Laird Barron… Ghosts, vampires, demons, serial killers, and other deadly denizens of the dark haunt this collection of chilling short stories by horror master Harvey Click.
*An unhappy and unloved boy summons a substitute mother–with sharp teeth.
*Two teenage boys learn it’s better to leave a spooky abandoned house alone.
*Can ghosts kill? Denise is about to find out the hard way.
*When her creative writing instructor offers to teach Kathy how to write a horror story, she finds herself trapped inside one.
*A man discovers he may be a killer, though he can’t remember the murders.
*A man with a terrible past, a wizard from the dark side of the moon, and a pitchfork perform a dark drama of murder and madness.
*A time traveler attempts to bring his dead fiancée back to life.
*Many people wish to be ageless, but what happens when an immortal woman begins to lose her mind?
*An artist literally draws a dead woman out of her grave.
*An elderly woman seeks to recover her forgotten past, but some things are better left forgotten.
*A petty swindler tries to buy good luck but ends up with the sort of luck nobody would want.
*And finally, a brief fable about a box of very sharp silence.

The Deep by Amanda CreiglowThe Deep by Amanda Creiglow:

Anna was a psychologist before the world ended. Now, she’s just a member of the not-yet-dead, waiting out the days until sickness takes her. But when an indecipherable signal from the depths of the sea hints at hope, she goes along on a mission to discover its source. She’s supposed to keep the rest of the crew sane, and they’re supposed to keep her alive. But not everything goes as planned…

Will the secrets of the deep hold hope for the future of the human race? Anna’s adventure to discover the truth begins.

 

Monster Maelstrom by George DonnellyMonster Maelstrom – A Halloween Anthology, edited by George Donnelly

24 Extremely Short Halloween Stories for your Briefest Moments

From a Hillary Clinton stripper to mythical beast-women in the harsh Scandinavian tundra and from an unusual band of steadfast teddy bears to the last man in zombie-occupied Chicago, fill your briefest moments with pulse-pounding frights and off-beat chuckles with this collection of 24 flash fiction stories.

Commuting to work? Grabbing a quick coffee? Each story tells a complete tale in but a few short minutes with the added promise of a lifelong introduction to new indie writers.

You never know, you might just find your next favorite author.

Monster Maelstrom, the second anthology in the Flash Flood series, is a hand-picked selection of master works in humor, horror and fantasy themed for Halloween and guaranteed to keep you engaged.

Sign up now to get free copies of book 1, Bite-Sized Stories, and future flash fiction anthologies themed for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, May the 4th and Independence Day.

Eidolon by Carlyle EdmundsonEidolon by Carlyle Edmundson:

After Lance’s contact, Wyatt, is driven underground by the followers of a crusading hacker known only as Eidolon, Lance gets saddled with the unenviable task of digging up dirt on them—one made even less tolerable as he finds himself working alongside a clickbait blogger whose only concern is the next big controversy.
But as Lance gets to know Eidolon and what he stands for, he becomes less and less sure that he’s on the right side. Is Wyatt merely taking advantage of him, or could there really be a dark secret at the heart of Eidolon’s attempts to right the world?

Eidolon is the second book in the Lance Canela series, following The Arcology. It features a special bonus short, Thoughts as Gray as Ash.

Stolen Magic by Marina FinlaysonStolen Magic by Marina Finlayson:

Lexi Jardine may be a thief, but she’s not stupid. When a crooked fireshaper wants her to steal a ring from the boss of his order, she knows it’s a one-way ticket to sleeping with the fishes. Her answer is to drop off the face of the earth.

Safely hidden in a quiet seaside town, she just needs to keep her head down and pretend to be a regular human. Since her only magical ability is the power to control animals, that should be easy, right?

Then a new fireshaper shows up in town. He’s hot as hell but oddly hostile. With his suspicious eyes watching her every move, her safe haven starts feeling more like a trap. When her best friend disappears, Lexi knows the time for hiding is over. Though the fireshapers are more powerful, Lexi’s not one to abandon a friend—but it will take everything she’s got to save them both from the flames.

The Druid Gene by Jennifer Foehner WellsThe Druid Gene by Jennifer Foehner Wells:

Darcy has a ten-thousand-year-old secret buried in her genetic code.

As a second year medical student, her life revolves around classes, studying, and her boyfriend Adam—until she treks through the desert, touches some mysterious stacked stones, and a network of glowing blue lines radiates under her skin.

Then she saw the spaceship. And it was coming for her.

She faces impossibly bad choices and a missing boyfriend.

Darcy struggles to accept her heritage and master her newfound powers as she navigates deception, betrayal, and danger in order to prevail in the galaxy’s most dangerous game—and survive to save Adam.

This new series also takes place in the Confluence Universe.

Repulsive by Brian W. FosterRepulsive by Brian W. Foster:

Zack Zurick loves superheroes. Lives them. Knows everything about them. And hey, he is a classic underdog and has an alliterative name, so maybe he could one day be chosen to join their ranks.

His life drastically changes when he becomes Repulsor. He’d hoped the fame and money would make Hayli see him as more than a friend. Instead, she can’t even look at him without literally getting sick. And the whole saving-the-world thing turns out to be harder than he thought, too. The villains have teamed up, and the heroes have a traitor in their midst. Zack must figure out who’s betraying them, defeat the bad guys, and, oh yeah, not get killed.

Right. Why not just go ahead and win the girl while he’s at it?

Maybe he could. If she weren’t dating the most popular, most famous, and most handsome superhero of them all. And if only he weren’t … Repulsive.

Mind Behind the Mind by Alexa GraveMind Behind the Mind by Alexa Grave

A witch who believes one of her own kind could never kill…

In a world where people believe the crimson sun is a dead witch’s head and the witch hunter who killed her stalks the night sky, a witch who ventures outside of Haven risks losing her life. Tessa is one such witch. Like many of her kind, she hopes to help the people of Leera, not harm them, and she’s on her first mission to heal an ailing man named Jeremiah. But when she crosses paths with a witch hunter, instead of avoiding him like she knows she should, she succumbs to her desires and ends up in his bed.

The local Enforcers believe a witch is behind Jeremiah’s sickness, so they call Bastian to town. He’s a young witch hunter who normally has a knack for sniffing out witches. But when he runs into the striking Tessa, she scrambles his senses. He’s inexplicably drawn to her and abandons his usually cautious nature.

As Tessa and Bastian uncover clues about Jeremiah’s illness, Tessa has to face the possibility that another witch may have had a hand in the incident. And if Bastian learns she’s a witch, he may point his finger at her. Then her head will surely roll.

The Tyro by Carol Holland MarchThe Tyro by Carol Holland March:

Larreta, home of the dreamwalkers, is being torn apart.

Rifts are forming and swallowing everything in their path. People, structures, entire villages, are disappearing. No one knows where the rifts come from or how to stop them. And they are getting worse.

Leo, a Senior Dreamwalker, is recalled from Earth, where he fled rather than face his failures. His heightened ability to connect with the past is crucial to combat the rifts. He’s drafted to train a handsome new dreamwalker, Jesse: a young man whose own talents are part of the solution to stopping the destruction.

Together, the two must form a complicated passage through time and space, and they can only succeed with mutual trust. First, Leo needs to overcome his personal demons in order to make the necessary connection. But getting closer is not something he wants to do, in spite of his attraction to Jesse. However, the fate of more than one world rests on their success. And time is running out.

From the Ashes by Michael Patrick HicksExtinction Cycle: From the Ashes by Michael Patrick Hicks:

In an effort to contain the spread of the Hemorrhage Virus, the United States government launched an attack on its nation’s cities. Hundreds of thousands of lives, and a number of major cities, were lost in Operation Reaper but the monsters created by the bioengineered virus remained.

A small team of Army Rangers have entered the ruins of Detroit in an effort to save whatever refugees they can, and stop whatever creatures they encounter. In an all-or-nothing gambit, the Rangers will soon discover that in the heart of the Motor City, evil rises from the ashes.

All Roads Lead to Hell by S. Hunter NisbetAll Roads Lead to Hell by S. Hunter Nisbet and Artemis Fay:

Good intentions only go so far.

Regretting his decision to let Simon Flaherty leave Buchell without admitting his feelings, Mick Perry follows his ex-fighting student to Scioto City looking for closure.

What Mick finds is a teenager barely coping with his new life, adrift in a metropolis that pays lip service to progress while accepting bribes from all-powerful criminal syndicates.

Mick thinks he’s prepared to do anything to help Simon, but his own past is catching up, from the family that betrayed his beliefs to the war he can’t seem to stop fighting in his dreams. Not to mention the contracts he’s bent on securing with the city bosses. The right move forward has never been less clear.

When the local syndicates realize exactly who Simon’s father was, all bets are off for the future. Mick will have to choose—does he want Simon as a lover, or does he want to use the power of the Petrowski name?

Or do all roads lead to hell?

Beacon's Hope by Jim JohnsonBeacon’s Hope by Jim Johnson:

When Rachel Farran accepted her calling to become a new Beacon, a reborn Fate and weaver of ley magics, she barely understood the world she was diving into. Lost souls, poltergeists, an ancient magical journal, and more await her in her journey, and she has to balance all of that with time for her girlfriend, training her magical ally Malcolm, and oh yeah, also trying to find a job to help make ends meet. It’s enough to make a girl go crazy!

Beacon’s Hope is the second book in Potomac Shadows, a paranormal fantasy series set in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

The Keeper of Pulau Purba by Brian J.W. LeeThe Keeper of Pulau Purba by Brian J.W. Lee:

From an emerging writer in Singapore, a Military-Horror Novel just in time for a harrowing Halloween.

Alex Kee is an author. As he is working on his magnum opus, he is called up for military reservist duties. At 35 years old, this is far from the first time he is doing this – Except he has been transferred to a new branch of the military camped at Pulau Purba, a previously undeveloped island south of Singapore.

Unable to write, he finds solace instead in his old army buddies. The closest amongst them is Nur Aidah, who is voluntarily serving despite the law requiring only men to do so. While old wounds are reopened, new ones emerge:

Alex finds that there is something wrong with Pulau Purba. The soldiers stationed there are tense even by conscript standards. Anger boils in the hearts of many and violence is common. Meanwhile, a grotesque creature stalks Alex in his sleep. Although he suspects that he isn’t alone, no one talks about it.

A thunderstorm’s coming, and it will threaten everything that Alex holds dear.

Aizli: Between Worlds by Lindsay McKinneyAizli: Between Worlds by Lindsay McKinney:

Tom Miller always thought of himself as being as average as they come. He had resigned himself to the job he hated and the little town he had grown up in. His stale life is turned on its head when his friend tells him of a strange stone box hidden in a nearby cave. In the process of attempting an amateur archaeological investigation, he finds a beautiful young woman in the sarcophagus. To his shock, she is very much alive. As she explains her story, Tom finds himself questioning everything he had ever dared to think about the universe. It isn’t long before he finds himself part of a painful choice between love and responsibility.

Aizli: Between Worlds is a novella with a length of approximately 30,000 words.

Four Barbarian Generals by T.A. MilesFour Barbarian Generals by T.A. Miles:

Han Quan’s dragon has been put to rest. The Empire beholds a moment of peace, a brief hour of victory, though at great cost.

The Imperial City has suffered significant damage from the dragon’s assault, the turmoil between the Five Kingdoms has escalated in the face of a continuing rise of dark forces now attributed as a curse upon the Song Dynasty, and Han Quan himself remains at large. Pursuit of the geomancer uncovers secrets connected to the persisting influence of the late Scholar General, and to the School of the Seven Mystics itself.

While the Phoenix continues to rise through Xu Liang, the dragons of the mortal plane begin to awaken. And as the southern kingdoms unite and rise against Xu Liang and his barbarian allies, the people of Ji continue to look to their ‘Silent Emperor’, some believing that he is favored by the gods, even above the Empress herself.

With Ying threatening to turn away from the Mandate and Du promising to join the southern rebellion, it seems that the heart of the Empire stands alone, unaware that the efforts of the Barbarian Generals will help determine the outcome of this battle between kingdoms.

War to the Knife by T.S. PaulWar to the Knife by T.S. Paul:

War is on the horizon for the Galaxy. The Empire of Man has been thrust into civil war as the Cabal makes it’s presence known. Earth is on the rise as plans within plans come to fruition. Mars and the new Alliance intends to take the war to Earth directly and Athena Lee is smack-dab in the middle of it all. Again. Will she survive or will Earth and its clone army win as they reconquer the galaxy?

 

 

Poseidon and Cleito by Andrew J. PetersPoseidon and Cleito by Andrew J. Peters:

He became a god. Her story was forgotten.

From the shore of a frozen steppe, an outcast hunter embarks for the otherworld to ask his ancestors how to bring the mammoth back to the fields of sedge.

In a shining, island kingdom of wonders, the daughter of a high priest fights for her claim to wealth and power after her father is assassinated by the king.

Together they will build an empire recalled as an ancient legend and a cautionary tale. But how did he become a god while she became a mere footnote in history?

From the publisher: Poseidon & Cleito is the engrossing first book of a fantasy trilogy of myth and legend exploring the rise of the lost civilization of Atlantis. In the best traditions of an epic journey, one man’s struggle to discover his place in the world takes him across perilous seas into the epicenter of political strife in a foreign land. But a legend is not made of deeds alone. Fans of Guy Gavriel Kay’s historical fantasy and David Gemmell’s Troy series will enjoy this fantasy novel as it sets out to reimagine the inception of a Greek myth.

Determination by L.D. SilverDetermination by L.D. Silver:

Skye Denali promises herself that she’ll never enter The Highlands. But then her sister Bree is taken by a vampire, and her mother is overwhelmed by grief.

She has no choice. To help her family, Skye will have to face her fears. She’ll have to go into The Highlands – a town that’s governed by vampires. And once she crosses the border and leaves the human sector, she’ll lose her rights.

Any vampire can demand her blood and by law she can’t refuse.

She’ll have to avoid attracting attention, search the town, and free her sister. All without getting caught.

Because getting caught means an automatic death sentence, or worse…

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Free Halloween themed anthology “Monster Maelstrom” available

Yes, I have another new release announcement to make. I promise that eventually there will be regular blogposts again, but at the moment, the new releases are coming hard and fast, so please bear with me.

Today, I am pleased to announce Monster Maelstrom, a Halloween themed flash fiction anthology edited by George Donelly. There are 24 stories about monsters in this anthology, including one of mine.

Monster Maelstrom – A Halloween Anthology
Monster Maelstrom, edited by George DonellyFrom a Hillary Clinton stripper to mythical beast-women in the harsh Scandinavian tundra and from an unusual band of steadfast teddy bears to the last man in zombie-occupied Chicago, fill your briefest moments with pulse-pounding frights and off-beat chuckles with this collection of 24 flash fiction stories.

Commuting to work? Grabbing a quick coffee? Each story tells a complete tale in but a few short minutes with the added promise of a lifelong introduction to new indie writers.

You never know, you might just find your next favorite author.

Monster Maelstrom, the second anthology in the Flash Flood series, is a hand-picked selection of master works in humor, horror and fantasy themed for Halloween and guaranteed to keep you engaged.

Best of all, it’s free, so grab your copy now at the retailer of your choice:

Get it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Smashwords and Google Play.

***

Our editor George Donnelly blogs a bit about the anthology here. Monster Maelstrom is part of a whole series of flash fiction anthologies and you can find out how to get the first volume, Bite-Sized Stories, and the next one, Christmas in the Family, for free at George’s blog.

My story in Monster Maelstrom is called “The Reanimated Reunion Tour” and is another story to come out of the 2016 July short story challenge. It’s a comedy horror story about a group of zombie opera singers, The Undead Tenors, post-humously reunited for one final performance.

Like many other stories to come out of the July short story challenge, “The Reanimated Reunion Tour” was inspired by a piece of fantasy art, namely this one.

However, “The Reanimated Reunion Tour” also draws on the love for opera I developed as a teenager. Because the five Undead Tenors (only three of whom are actually tenors, the other two are a baritone and a basso) were once the greatest opera stars of their time, they played all the great parts in all the big houses and festivals and they sure as hell won’t let anybody forget that. Resemblances to any actual opera singers living, dead or undead are entirely coincidental, of course.

I even managed to sneak in a reference to my all-time favourite opera aria, “Oh, wie will ich triumphieren” from The Abduction from the Seraglio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with lyrics by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner. You can see and hear it here, performed by the master himself, Kurt Moll (sorry, Anselmo).

However, my little quirky tale of zombie opera singers is only one of 24 stories about some common and very uncommon monsters to be found in Monster Maelstrom.

Oh yes, and did I mention that the anthology is free?

So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy today.

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“Bullet Holes” and the Creativity Pressure Cooker

This is the fairly straightforward version of the idea generation process. See image, start writing. However, sometimes an image would also sink into a great stewpot of my subconscious and spark an idea further down the line. This is what happened in the case of Bullet Holes.

The story was written fairly late in the challenge. It was July, a hot night and even hotter day, and I was trying to fall asleep. But the heat made it difficult and so I drifted in and out of sleep, while my mind was hard at work combining story ideas.

Now I had been writing a short story per day for almost a month at this point, so my brain was in story generation mode anyway. What is more, two of the stories I had written plus one I set aside (which later became Graveyard Shift) had been in the same series, the In Love and War space opera/science fiction romance series, so Anjali and Mikhail were also pretty close to the surface of my mind.

The 2016 Hugo votes also happened to be due by July 31, so I did part of my Hugo reading during the challenge period and had in fact just filled out my Hugo ballot. And while I was drifting in and out of sleep, my mind was fishing for story ideas, mentally reviewing the concept art writing prompts again and also thinking about the Hugo nominees and the way I’d ranked them.

For some reason, I found myself thinking about one particular story, Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds, a nominee in the novella category. At the start of that story, the protagonist is tortured with a so-called “slow bullet”, a projectile/data chip which slowly bores its way through her body. Now the “slow bullet” idea isn’t exactly new – I’ve come three variations in the past year or so – and the novella eventually went off into a completely different direction. Nor was Slow Bullets the top-ranked story on my novella ballot – I think I ranked it at number 3. Nonetheless, the opening scene stuck with me and so I found myself thinking about it, while drifting in and out of sleep.

Meanwhile, my mind in its infinite wisdom dug up an image I had seen among io9‘s concept art writing prompts, namely this one of a very dodgy Cyberpunk clinic/treatment room. Once again, this image did not speak to me immediately. In fact I initially dismissed with “Uhm, nope, next one please” after a quick glance. I didn’t even bookmark the image and had to hunt it down again. Nonetheless, my brain remembered it and combined it with the smart bullets from the Alastair Reynolds story and came up with an idea about someone hit in the leg with a smart bullet that was slowly boring its way towards their heart. And the only hope to remove the bullet lay in a dodgy backalley cyber-clinic.

While I was drifting in and out of sleep, my mind mused over the idea and eventually it hit me that this would make a great In Love and War story. Once I had that realisation, I was instantly a lot more awake. I worked over the idea, while lying awake in bed, and came up with a basic plot. Then I got up, switched on the air-conditioning (because I needed to work, damn it), sat down at my computer and wrote the story pretty much straight through with only a handful breaks to make tea and eventually lunch (because writing always makes me hungry).

Bullet Holes is the fourth story in the In Love and War series to date (you can get all four at a reduced price in this neat bundle available exclusively at DriveThruFiction, by the way) and the second to feature Anjali and Mikhail having adventures as an established couple.

In addition to Anjali and Mikhail as well as the new characters Draco and Sladjana Dragovich (Sladjana was named for a teacher colleague of mine, by the way), we also meet (well, hear, since he only appears as a voice in Mikhail’s ear) Colonel Brian Mayhew of the Republican Special Commando Forces, Mikhail’s former commander and mentor, again, who also appears in Dreaming of the Stars and Graveyard Shift.

When I first came up with the idea for what would eventually become the In Love and War series, Mayhew was something of a one-note villain, an SF-nal version of the doggedly relentless pursuer so common in “troubled difter solves problem of the week and moves on” TV-shows such as The Fugitive, The Pretender and the 1970s version of The Incredible Hulk (and indeed, such TV-shows were an influence on the In Love and War series).

However, as I wrote more stories in the In Love and War series, something odd happened, namely Brian Mayhew flat out refused to cooperate and made it very clear that he did not want to be a one-note villain or even a villain at all. And so Mayhew became an a lot more complex character, which thoroughly messed up some of my plans, but also made the overall storyline so much better.

The version of Brian Mayhew seen or rather heard in Bullet Holes is about as close to my original conception of the character, as he is likely to get. Because in Bullet Holes, he needed to be a fairly one-note villain, though even here it becomes noticeable that Mayhew isn’t entirely happy with all the things he’s forced to do in the name of the Republic.

But enough blathering about the writing process. Let’s get to the story itself (yes, this is a new release announcement, albeit one with a little bit of extra added) and follow Mikhail and Anjali onto the streets of the rim world of Varishka, as they deal with some very lethal…

Bullet Holes
Bullet Holes by Cora BuhlertOnce, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eek out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

When a seemingly routine courier job turns out to be a trap, Anjali is hit by a so-called smart bullet, a Republican weapon that slowly and inevitably kills its victims. Mikhail is given a choice by his former commander Brian Mayhew: Surrender or watch the woman he loves die in excruciating pain.

It is a choice between two equally horrifying fates. But maybe, there is a third option…

More information.
Length: 6200 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Aldi does e-books

The name Aldi has long been synonymous with discount groceries, both in Germany and abroad. However, Aldi‘s activities have long since expanded into other fields. For example, Aldi is the 8th biggest clothing retailer in Germany and is a big player in the field of consumer electronics (Medion was originally an Aldi brand). Aldi offers household goods, sporting equipment, gardening equipment and pretty much anything under the sun as part of their weekly special offers. Aldi has its own mobile phone network, Aldi Talk, they sell package holidays, insurance policies and recently started up their own music and media streaming service. In Germany, pretty much everybody shops at Aldi, at least on occasion.

Today, I was at my local Aldi store for my weekly grocery haul and picked up the flyer/broshure with the weekly offers, while I was at it. As I flipped through the flyer at home, I came across an announcement that made me do a double-take: Aldi‘s music streaming service Aldi life will now also offer e-books. And to start you off, they’ll be offering a Medion tablet for 129 Euros, which includes a 10 Euro store credit for e-books at the Aldi life store and a month of free music streaming.

It’s not an offer that’s of any interest to me, but nonetheless this has the potential to be big, because a lot more people in Germany and the neighbouring countries shop at Aldi than ever enter a bookstore or visit Amazon.de. Will the new Aldi life e-book store persuade these people to give e-books a try? I don’t know. Though Aldi‘s weekly specials frequently include both paperbacks and audiobooks. And given how many people shop at Aldi and peruse the weekly flyer, I’m pretty sure the sales numbers for those books are impressive.

The announcement that Aldi will start selling e-books has the German book world all atwitter, as these articles at Lesen.net, e-book-news.de, Heise Online and Börsenblatt show. The only English language article about the Aldi announcement I was able to find is this one by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader. Nate Hoffelder compares Aldi‘s venture into the e-book market to Tesco’s failed attempt in the UK with a similar scheme. Sainsbury’s also recently closed down its e-book business and handed it over to Kobo.

So will Aldi life eventually go the same way? It’s certainly possible, but personally I don’t think so. For starters, Aldi is neither Tesco’s nor Sainsbury’s. And Germany is not the UK. Because in Germany, Amazon is not nearly as dominant as in the UK. Instead the German e-book market is split between the two big players Amazon and tolino, whereby tolino‘s marketshare is slightly ahead of Amazon‘s.

Personally, I suspect that Aldi life will be more of a challenge to tolino than to Amazon and the Kindle. Because Aldi life isn’t going after the early adopters, high volume readers and people who read obscure niche titles in foreign languages, which form a large part of Amazon‘s German customer base. Aldi life is going after the casual readers, the people who only read a handful of books per year, most of them bestsellers and only in German. And these casual readers, if they have an e-reader at all, mostly have a tolino. Will they switch to Aldi life, especially since tolino offers a superior hardware experience (and hardware-wise, tolino readers are excellent – my second e-reader is a tolino shine)? Time will tell.

Of course, the question is: What does all this mean for indies? And I must confess that my first thought upon reading the announcement that Aldi life will be offering e-books in the Aldi flyer was, “Who is their supplier? And how can I get in?”

Turns out I wasn’t the only person asking that question. And so Börsenblatt, a magazine of the German publishers’ and booksellers’ association asked Aldi that exact same question and received the answer that Aldi life is working with various distributors and aggregators in order to offer a broad range of titles, but that they can’t name any specific partners. Do these distributors and aggregators include some that carry indie e-books? I have no idea. Though I strongly suspect that the answer is “no”, since Aldi life allegedly offers “more than one million e-books” (including English language e-books), whereas Amazon offers more than five million. The discrepancy is very likely due to indies.

Besides, even though tolino is embracing indies now and have their own upload portal, for most indies tolino sales are much lower than they should be, based on tolino‘s marketshare. And if Aldi taps into the same demographic or an even more bestseller focussed one, it probably won’t be a very good market for indies. Nonetheless, I will be checking the Aldi life e-book store for my books, when it goes live on October 20. I also think Smashwords or Draft2Digital would do well to see if they can get Aldi life to carry their titles – after all, they both distribute to tolino.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for September 2016

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’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 July 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 a whole lot of space opera this month, but also epic fantasy, urban fantasy, portal fantasy, military science fiction, dystopian science fiction, science fiction romance, time travel, vampires, witches, demons, dragons, aliens, nanitechnology, starship mages, disasters in space, intergalactic mercenaries, turncoat princes, outlaw swordfighters, FBI witches, psychedelic coffee and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

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:

Graveyard Shift by Cora BuhlertGraveyard Shift by Cora Buhlert

While docked at the civilian space station Unity for repairs, the Republic of United Planets battlecruiser Great Endeavour undertakes a trial flight with an inexperienced bridge crew. Disaster strikes and the Great Endeavour crashes into Unity‘s shopping concourse, killing more than three hundred people.

A tragic accident, but in times of war, the public is not willing to accept tragic accidents. And so the Republic’s government sends its best troubleshooter, Colonel Brian Mayhew of the Republican Special Commando Forces to initiate a cover-up.

This is a novelette of 14100 words or approx. 48 print pages in the In Love and War series, but may be read as a standalone.

Courting Trouble by Cora BuhlertCourting Trouble by Cora Buhlert

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eek out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

But when Anjali and Mikhail stumble upon a protection racket during a routine shopping trip, they have to make a choice: Lay low to avoid attracting attention or stay true to their personal ethics and intervene?

This is a story of 6700 words or approx. 23 print pages in the In Love and War series, but may be read as a standalone.

Arkadian Skies by Lindsay BurokerArkadian Skies by Lindsay Buroker

With the man who kidnapped her daughter imprisoned aboard her ship, Captain Alisa Marchenko is closer than ever to reuniting her family. But her new guest has been in a coma for weeks, with the secret to her daughter’s location locked away in his mind. She must find a way to sneak him into a state-of-the-art hospital on Arkadius, a planet in the heart of Alliance territory. Not an easy task when she and the cyborg Leonidas, her most trusted ally, are wanted by the Alliance army.

As if that mission weren’t daunting enough, the Staff of Lore has appeared on the planet. As has the man who stole it: Alisa’s father.

Bloodless by Tori CentanniBloodless by Tori Centanni

Henri Dunn would love to avoid all vampire bullshit for the foreseeable future, but the universe has other plans.
When an exsanguinated corpse is left in the dumpster behind her workplace, Henri knows it’s a some kind of twisted message meant for her. It’s just not one she can decipher.

In addition to that terrifying puzzle, Henri’s new ex-vampire roommate is not adapting well to human life and a Cure-obsessed vampire is stalking her. And of course, her enigmatic vampire sire, Sean, is being his usual elusive and infuriating self.

When a second body that’s been drained of blood is left in front of Henri’s apartment building, it becomes clear that a vicious serial killer is fixated on her. Using her ability to read memories in blood, Henri must figure out who’s behind these terrible killings and stop them before she becomes the next victim.

Bloodless is the second installment of The Henri Dunn Urban Fantasy Series, which features a snarky protagonist, intriguing mysteries, a captivating cast of characters, and elements of humor. Book 1, The Immortality Cure, is also available.

Osdal by Michael ChatfieldOsdal by Michael Chatfield

Masoul wasn’t just an uprising, it was the starting of a war. Harmony didn’t start on Masoul; they were using it as a testing ground.

Moretti has a lead on where Harmony might have come from. First they need to defeat Harmony’s forces in Osdal.

Nerva’s not going to throw his people at Harmony, this is not just a colonist uprising, this is a well-armed and backed military. They need more information. It comes down to the Triple-Two’s to find out that information.

Once again the Victor brothers and their platoon will be right at the heart of Harmony.

Nothing will be the same after Osdal.

Blooded by Shei DarksbaneBlooded by Shei and Annathesa Nikola Darksbane

Dakota Shepherd gained Hellfire from a demoness on the day she Awakened. She never asked for that power, but it worked out well…until the deadly fire turned against her, forcing her to strike a deal with her even deadlier benefactor.

A bloody quest. A score unsettled. A lesson finally learned.

Dakota must recover the demoness’ stolen blood before a thief with unparalleled power can turn it to his own dark purposes. Even with her wealthy and powerful girlfriend on her side, Dakota is way out of her league.

But when a demoness calls, only a dead girl says no.

The Captain by Brian W. FosterRepulsive Origins – The Captain by Brian W. Foster

When a supervillain attacks civilians, the US Army is first on the scene. Lieutenant Samuel Shields is given the impossible task of protecting lives and property. His weapons won’t hurt a three-story tall enhanced hostile, and even if he could figure out a way to take the enemy out, he’s not allowed to engage under any circumstances. Instead, he must wait for the so-called superheroes to show up.

Leave it to the politicians to create such a FUBAR situation.

Two children are put in danger, and Samuel is forced to make a life-altering decision. If he follows orders, he’ll have the deaths of two kids on his conscience. But if he disobeys, he risks his life and, worse, a court martial.

The Night Watch by Chris GerribThe Night Watch by Chris Gerrib

In the chaotic and crime-ridden settlement of Boxtown on Mars, Minty Storey witnesses a bar fight she has no idea will change the course of her life.

Halfway across the planet, Janet Pilgrim and the Volunteer Space Rescue Service struggle to do something about the pirate menace on the spaceways between Earth and Mars.

But the problems both face are much bigger than pirates and bar fights. When a leader of Earth’s Manifest Destiny movement makes an appearance on Mars, events begin to roll to a climax that will hold the fate of the planet in the balance.

One Down by Bryce T. HughesOne Down by Bryce T. Hughes:

An impenetrable barrier keeps Earth’s ships from leaving. Teams of specially-trained heroes fly the limited allowed space wiping out the debris specialists suspect offended an alien force. Separated from her lover, Jane treasures her team and performs her duty, but she suspects a lie fuels the international sport. With her friend Julio’s life hanging in the balance, she faces the deadly force penning her planet and battles the hypocrisy of her government.

This is a LGBT short story with lesbian and gay content, and mild swearing.

True Colors of Betrayal by J.C. KangTrue Colors of Betrayal by J.C. Kang

The world knows Kaiya as the Dragon Charmer.

After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all she wants is to return to a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor assigns her an onerous task: negotiating with the aggressive Teleri Empire for the extradition of her cousin, who tried to murder the imperial family and usurp the Dragon Throne.

The mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off negotiations, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed.

Stem by Aaron D. LambStem by Aaron D. Lamb

After escaping the extermination of everyone they loved, Rome and Mae seek revenge.

However, the world outside their city sized prison is too busy to care. They form a desperate friendship with an unlucky Zoo guide, caught in the wrong place at the right time. Together they face the forces of a corrupt government, a sensationalist media, and an apathetic public.

And they only have a week left to live.

Suspenseful, political and awash with colourful characters and epic set pieces.

Stem the sequel to sci-fi hit Pollen, builds to a finale that pits hero against hero.

Cargo by V.M. LawCargo by V.M. Law

On the Age of Discovery, a massive cargo hauler, Kasey Lee works as a Custodial Technician, essentially a glorified janitor.

When the Ides, a hostile alien race, attacks Earth’s outposts, the Age must assist in the war effort.

But Kasey discovers that there is a conspiracy on board, one which led the Ides straight to the outposts, and is now pointing them right at Earth.

 

You Don't Belong Here by Tim MajorYou Don’t Belong Here by Tim Major

Daniel Faint is on the run with a stolen time machine. As the house-sitter of a remote Cumbrian mansion, he hopes to hide and experiment with the machine. But is the Manor being watched by locals, his twin brother or even himself? Daniel is terrified about what the future may hold but, as he discovers, there can be no going back.

 

 

 

Dragon's Trail by Joseph MalikDragon’s Trail by Joseph Malik

“I didn’t come here to sell my soul. I came here to buy it back.”

Once dubbed “The Deadliest Man Alive,” Jarrod Torrealday is a former Olympic saber hopeful and medieval weapons expert banned from competition for killing another fencer in a duel. Despondent, volatile, alcoholic, yet still one of the greatest swordsmen alive, he now works for third-rate fantasy films as a technical consultant and stuntman.

When Jarrod accepts the gig of a lifetime from a sorcerer looking for a hero, he finds himself facing an invading army in a world inhabited by creatures from Earth’s mythical past. He soon learns that the enemy mastermind is also from Earth, and has laid the foundations for a new kind of war.

Born a Witch by TS PaulBorn a Witch… Drafted by the FBI by T.S. Paul

Agatha Blackmore came into her powers early as a child. Her first spell was a thing of beauty and wonder. It brought terror into the hearts of her family. Who wanted to accidentally become a pink chicken? Now that she’s older her magic is out of control. She needs a teacher and none of the Witch Schools will take her. How about a career in law enforcement? The FBI needs serious help in catching law breaking Paranormals. It’s a match made in heaven or is it in Hell? God only knows what happens next.

 

The Unmasking Engine by Ian W. SainsburyThe Unmasking Engine by Ian W. Sainsbury

An experiment that began 2.8 billion years ago is about to end…

Seb Varden is starting to get used to life as a World Walker. With a body full of alien nanotechnology, the ability to travel anywhere instantly and – most surprising of all – a steady relationship with Meera Patel, things are finally looking up.

Until Seb has his first blackout, starts meeting aliens and discovers a plan that threatens the entire human race. And, of course, Mason, the most dangerous Manna user, picks this particular moment to come after him and Meera.

Scariest of all, Seb is learning his transformation into a World Walker is far from complete…

Monkeys, aliens, technology, parallel universes, music, psychopaths, A.I., a magic tech spider, The Unmaking Engine has it all, including the explanation of how all life on earth began. Did I mention monkeys?

The Unmaking Engine is book 2 in the The World Walker Series.

The Turncoat Prince by Amelia PrinceThe Turncoat Prince by Amelia Smith

Darna is just a guildswoman, or so she’d like to think, but her alleged father was the prince of a backwater province. Her uncle assassinated him to claim the throne, and now he’s coming after her.

With assassins on her heels, Darna takes on a job in the remote province of Slaradun. The prince is irate to find that this limping woman has replaced the able-bodied man he hired, but according to the contract, he’s stuck with her for the season. Darna finds the prince arrogant and high-handed, but he’s also intelligent and well-read. As winter closes in on Slaradun keep, late night conversations turn from sea walls to more intimate territory, and the province’s lost dragon reappears.

This book is the second in the Dragonsfall trilogy. To enjoy it properly, read The Defenders’ Apprentice first, and perhaps also the beginning of Darna’s story in the prequel novels, Scrapplings and Priestess.

Phobos Eclipse of the Heart by Colin SpindlerPhobos Eclipse of the Heart by Colin Spindler

Colin Spindler’s CULT Group Coffee Sequence is a mystical space yarn for lovers of psychedelic science fiction.

Phobos Eclipse of the Heart picks up the wild tale where Of Bots and Beans left off.

Follow the mysterious Participant’s continuing misadventures in Sequencing. Learn about The Scullythorne Thesis, an authoritative document which can be twisted into providing support for any and every argumentative perspective. Uncover a nefarious plot to bring down the Dos Boletos facility. Mourn the tragic end of Sir Francis Buildobare and the loss of the Vladimarino Gripebagger Expedition. Puzzle over the controversial Alley Cat Initiative.

Revel in the mysteries of the nanobot-haunted Cosmos!

Alien Arcana by Glynn StewartAlien Arcana by Glynn Stewart

An alien ruin
A murdered archeologist
An ancient secret—and a conspiracy that will kill to keep it!

When a scientist is murdered after finding signs of alien magic in an archeological dig, Mage Damien Montgomery, Hand of the Mage-King of Mars, is sent to investigate both the murder and the alien runes.

His investigation is interrupted when a mysterious ship attacks the ruins with weapons only available to the Martian Navy. Despite saving the dig site, Montgomery is left with more questions than answers.

His investigations reveal questions about the origin of his magic and his nation—and lead him back to the one place that should be safe: the court of the Mage-King of Mars.

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New Release: Courting Trouble, an In Love and War story

Two weeks ago, I announced the start of a new space opera series and also that there would be more books coming soon. Then, three days ago, I announced the second novelette in the In Love and War series, again with the promise of more stories coming soon.

And today, I’m happy to announce Courting Trouble, the third story in the In Love and War series. Whereas both Dreaming of the Stars and Graveyard Shift are prequels of sorts, Courting Trouble features Mikhail and Anjali as an established couple on the run from their respective regimes.

The seeds for the In Love and War series were laid sometime last year, when a scene popped into my head: Two intergalactic mercenaries, a man and a woman, bantering while walking through a grimy spaceport. I knew at once that they were a couple and that they came from very different backgrounds which they had left behind to be together. They worked as mercenaries now, not because they wanted to, but because it was the only option left open to them. They were also on the run.

I was intrigued by the bantering couple, so I started writing. As I followed them through the spaceport, I learned a lot more about them: Their names – Anjali Patel and Mikhail Alexeievich Grikov – that they had both been elite soldiers on opposite sides of an endless intergalactic war, that they had fallen in love and run away together. I also got, in bits and pieces, the story of how they’d met and fallen in love and what had prompted them to leave behind everything they’d ever known and run away together. It was a pretty good story, so I decided to write it. I worked on that story on and off for several months, while it eventually blossomed into a novel or rather two.

However, I had always intended to give Anjali and Mikhail standalone adventures working together as an established couple. In many ways, Anjali and Mikhail are the ideal candidates for a series of standalone adventures. They are fugitives working as mercenaries, hopping from planet to planet trying to evade their pursuers. This gives them the opportunity to have a lot of different adventures on different worlds, solving other people’s problems, while trying to stay a step ahead of their own. Hey, it worked for Dr. Richard Kimble and the 1970s TV version of The Incredible Hulk. It’s still working for Jack Reacher.

Then July came along and I decided to take the 2016 July short story challenge. At this point, Mikhail and Anjali had been living in my head for several months. And while I was looking at SF concept art, trying to spark ideas for the story of the day, I came across this image and thought, “That place would make a great setting for an Anjali and Mikhail story.”

So I started writing and sent Mikhail and Anjali shopping. Or rather, I sent Anjali shopping, since Mikhail merely tags along. It wasn’t long until they found trouble or rather trouble found them.

By now, it has become something of a pattern that the In Love and War stories all have pretty extensive descriptions of food and Courting Trouble is no exception. I’m not sure why I write about food so much, both in this series and elsewhere, except that food is an element that’s traditionally missing in a lot of science fiction or is reduced to things such as food pills or protein sludge, which few people would willingly consume.

Food is also significant for Mikhail in particular, because his deprived childhood (chronicled in Dreaming of the Stars) has left him with massive food issues. These issues come to the fore in Courting Trouble, when going grocery shopping with Anjali triggers memories of Mikhail’s lost family and homeworld, which once again focus mostly on food and drink.

So follow Mikhail and Anjali, as they are…

Courting Trouble
Courting Trouble by Cora Buhlert Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eek out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

But when Anjali and Mikhail stumble upon a protection racket during a routine shopping trip, they have to make a choice: Lay low to avoid attracting attention or stay true to their personal ethics and intervene?

More information.
Length: 6700 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

BTW, if you want to read the entire In Love and War series, there is a series bundle available at a reduced price exclusively at DriveThruFiction.

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