Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 2015

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 science fiction, space opera, science fantasy, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, YA fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, Asian fantasy, grimdark fantasy, demons, djinns, vampires, witches, werewolves and other shifters, space pirates, exiled princesses, desert planets, Wild West mages, lots of LGBT characters and much more. We also have a whole lot of books by women this month.

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:

Runespell by Sela CarsenRunespell by Sela Carsen:

In most fairy tales, the prince rescues the princess. It’s not often she gets to return the favor.
Mai Westenra is pulled into a centuries-old quest for vengeance and magic, never realizing that she’ll find love in the midst of danger.
Tyr Halvarsson has waited lifetimes to be rid of his curse. Resigned to his immortal half-life, one selfless act of humanity can redeem him. Or kill him.
Together, Mai and Tyr must work against time and magic to perform the runespell that will save their lives and give them a chance at love that lasts.

The Tale of Yin by Joyce ChngThe Tale of Yin by Joyce Chng:

The duology of Oysters, Pearls & Magic and The Path of Kindness sees the stories of Mirra and her daughter, Kindness, as they struggle to find their identities and selves on the planet they have called home. A feminist YA novella, the Tale of Yin looks at magic, privilege, the landscape and compassion.

 

 

 

Hunted by Shei DarksbaneHunted by Shei and Annathesa Nikola Darksbane:

Dakota Shepherd is such a newb: newly Awakened, rookie werewolf, supernatural investigator in training. Her command of the wolf inside is shaky at best, and her grasp of the unstable magic she wields is worse. She sure has a lot to learn about her new life in the supernatural world. So why would anyone want to stalk her?
A trespasser in pack territory. Blood on the mountain. An urban legend, spoken only in whispers.
Can Dakota rise to the challenge of a deadly foe?
There’s no shame in being new: everyone starts out that way. But in a world of powerful supernatural threats, being a newb could get a girl killed. And if Dakota isn’t up to the job of protecting herself, how can she hope to protect her loved ones from the ancient supernatural killer that hunts them?

This is the sequel to Awakened.

Pierce by Jolie du PrePierce: A Vampire Serial, Episode 1 by Jolie de Pré:

When vampire warning signs flog the city and people mysteriously disappear one by one, Alicia avoids the nightly hours like the black plague. This attractive, African-American lady spends her days waitressing all while struggling to make a living after a devastating breakup. Her city is already a danger zone, and the arrival of a Caucasian, blood-thirsty trio (Dagon, Vince, and Bess) only amplifies the dilemma. Dagon is a romantic treading between the lines of hopeless and hopeful, whereas Vince’s sexual compulsion doesn’t leave him with any room for true love. Bess is clearly attracted to the much-flaunted Dagon, but alas, her interest is unrequited. Could it be that someone else—of non-vampiric origin, has grabbed a tight hold on his non-beating heart? And with all these monstrosities running about, is Alicia truly safe in the comfort of her own home between sunset and sunrise?

Gods of Blood and Bone by Azalea EllisGods of Blood and Bone by Azalea Ellis:

My name is Eve Redding. I am the new god.

I never wanted to become a Player in the Game, never intended for any of this to happen. I was content with my ordinary, invisible existence among the millions of civilians crowding my city. But the monstrous creators of the Game forced me to Play, and I’m the type to cling to life by the tips of my bloody fingernails.

At first, I was enamored by the ability to augment everything about myself – to become smarter, stronger, prettier…better. But after my teleportation to that first Trial – a death tournament held on a beautiful, vicious alien world – I would have done anything to escape the Game.

I needed power to protect myself and those I cared about from the Game and its creators, so I took it. But every deadly choice I made along the way eroded not only what once made me weak, but what also made me human.

Riot of Storm and Sky by Jennifer EllisionRiot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision:

War draws closer, like a tide to the shore.

Bree and her friends have escaped the clutches of the Egrian King, but their troubles are far from over. Still reeling from the secrets that drew new breath when her father took his last, Bree sets off for the safety of Nereidium– the kingdom she’s just learned is hers.

But with the King’s ire at its peak and war a certainty, Nereidium is no longer safe. As Prince Caden rallies the Egrian people against his tyrant father, Bree, Princess Aleta, and Tregle race to the Nereid shore to warn them of the incoming danger—and to put the Nereid Princess on the throne.

The only trouble there: Bree can’t bring herself to reveal that the Princess is her.

It’s not a dilemma she can waste time pondering. With a new weapon in his arsenal, the King’s strikes are sure to be bolder than ever before. And Bree may not be ready to wear a crown… but she won’t let her kingdom down without a fight.

This is the sequel to Threats of Sky and Sea.

Taming the Wolf by Irma GeddonTaming the Wolf by Irma Geddon:

Jared is a young medical resident with a quick wit, a ripped body and a heart of gold. He has a terrible secret—one that has always stopped him from baring his heart to any girl.

Paige is a smart girl, but she’s hopelessly shy and awkward—that is, until Cupid stabs her with his golden arrow, and all she can think about is getting in the pants of perfect but secretive Jared.

Will Cupid’s decision to make Paige fall hopelessly in love with Jared spell trouble for them both?

To the Gap by Kyra HallandTo the Gap by Kyra Halland:

The secret of Lainie’s forbidden magical gifts has been exposed, and Silas wants to take her far away from the Wildings to a place where she can be safe. To earn money for the journey, Silas signs them up to work on the big annual cattle drive to the Gap.

Lainie dreams of making the Wildings into a place where she and Silas and other mages can live in peace. The cattle drive is the perfect opportunity for her and Silas to show the Plain settlers of the Wildings that not all mages are wicked, heartless monsters.

While Silas has reason to believe that the danger to Lainie is worse than he thought, Lainie can’t agree that leaving the Wildings is the answer. As they travel with the herd, Lainie and Silas must avoid being captured or killed by mage hunters and discovered by the mage-hating Plains, while protecting the herd from renegade mages looking for money and trouble. And they have to find a way to resolve the disagreement between them – do they seek refuge in a faraway land or stand and face the dangers of being outlaw mages in the Wildings? – before it tears them apart.

This is Book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings, western fantasy romance for adults and older teens.

Revolver by Michael Patrick HicksRevolver by Michael Patrick Hicks:

Cara Stone is a broken woman: penniless, homeless, and hopeless. When given the chance to appear on television, she jumps at the opportunity to win a minimum of $5,000 for her family.

The state-run, crowdfunded series, Revolver, has been established by the nation’s moneyed elite to combat the increasing plight of class warfare.

There’s never been a Revolver contestant quite like Cara before. The corporate states of America are hungry for blood, and she promises to deliver.

The “stunning and harrowing” short story, originally published in the anthology No Way Home, is now available as a standalone release and features an all-new foreword written by award-winning science fiction author, Lucas Bale.

Old Ways by Paul KleynhansOld Ways by Paul Kleynhans:

Saul escaped the capital with the blood of the Emperor and Princes on his hands, but the recently crowned Empress seeks revenge. She will not rest until her father’s murder is avenged, and sends her Inquisitors, the Dark Legion, to bring him to justice. While hunted by the Inquisition, monsters of the deep, and pirates, Saul sets off to free his brother, the rightful King of Ubrain, from the arena in Qash—a city built on the backs of slaves.

This is the sequel to Dark Legion.

 

Legend of the Jinn by Jennifer LiuLegend of the Jinn – The Teapot Storm by Jennifer Liu:

And the Jinn break their lamps…
In the vast Arkazian Desert, stories of the magical wish-granting Jinn tantalize the sands. Awe-inspiring and life changing all hope to cross their path. All except Verity.
Verity has angered the Jinn and now their magic laces her blood in a poisonous race. Cursed, she must find the cure her grandfather has hidden in the sands. But before she can save herself, the Jinn demand she save another.
A girl for a girl, the trade must be completed
Liam and Hank are two villagers from the Smoke Stacks. Poor and ill-equipped they trick Verity into joining their rescue mission – a girl from their village has been taken. A girl they both seem to love.
As the three race across the sand, dark shadows trail close behind. The Kingdom’s greatest soldier has defected and, now with dark magic on his side, he is nearly unbeatable. And he has one mission – to stop Verity.
Time is running out
Chased from all sides, Verity is caught in a desperate struggle. The magic inside of her is addictive and seductive, but as it grows, her humanity diminishes. If she doesn’t find the cure, the Jinn will win and she will be forced to join their ranks as they stage a rebellion to overthrow the human world.

Oasis by Floyd LooneyOasis by Floyd Looney:

Oasis is a desert world, a backwater world ignored by the Star League for generations. The people have subdivided themselves into “tribes” over time. When space pirates and their unknown benefactors try to take over, a teenager named Jake tries to rally people to the defense of their world.

 

 

 

The Last of the Ageless by Traci LoudinThe Last of the Ageless by Traci Loudin:

Three centuries ago, humans and aliens fought for control of the Earth, ending in an apocalyptic disaster known as the Catastrophe…

Dalan is a shapeshifter
He hails from a tribe of mutants dedicated to preserving fading species by taking their forms. To become fully recognized as an adult, he must pass a trial in the wastelands far from home.

Nyr is a killer
When her lust for bounty yields an ancient artifact of mysterious origin, everything she knows is turned upside down. Once a hunter, now a pawn, she must learn to rely on others to survive what’s coming.

Korreth is a slave
Without any extra talents, he depends on nothing more than his strength and wits as he flees the army of mutants that enslaved him. He must return home to warn his people before the swelling ranks of monsters threaten his family.

…but in the shadows, a new threat rises—one that could end what little remains of civilization: The Last of the Ageless.

Casimir's Journey by Lisa ManifoldCasimir’s Journey by Lisa Manifold:

When Casimir looked up, the last thing he saw was Thea. He saw nothing after that and he didn’t expect to.

Until he saw bright, white light, and heard someone talking to him. This was nothing like he expected.

Follow Casimir as he works his way back to Thea – or will he? Catrin is determined that Thea is a waste of his time, talent, and certainly of his heart.

Who will prevail? A great power, or an even greater love?

Casimir’s Journey is Book Two in the Sisters Of The Curse series.

Witch's Curse by Chrissy MossWitch’s Curse by Chrissy Moss:

Hunted since birth, now Okira must use the power she’s been hiding…or die trying.

Trained in secret, hidden from the rest of the Sea of Tears, Okira felt safe; until fate had other plans for her. When a playful sylph pulls Okira into the ocean it sets off a chain of events that lead her down a deadly path.

Danger lurks around every corner. To survive Okira must tap into the abilities she has only begun to understand, stretching her knowledge to the brink.

Now Okira must travel across the Sea of Tears with the shape shifter, Brother Hawk. Together they must find a way to stop the acolytes in their mad lust for power before the high priest unleashes the kraken and destroys everyone.

Witch’s Curse is the second book in the Witch’s Trilogy.

The Blood Moon by David NethThe Blood Moon by David Neth:

Brother witches Josh and Chris have sacrificed a great deal for their magical responsibilities. Their Aunt Kathy is the only family they have left, and together they must face their enemies to keep them from targeting any more victims. But when Kathy is put in the hospital after an attack, the boys are a witch short.

With the brothers at their weakest, they uncover a growing new power trying to organize the demonic hierarchy. Josh and Chris are left alone to battle an evil stronger than anything they’ve ever faced. An evil so strong it might cost them their lives.

The Melding by Claire RyanThe Melding by Claire Ryan:

THE MELDLING is a tale of epic fantasy, set in a world where humans have been driven underground by a war not of their making, and one woman must find the truth of her existence within her own heart.

She was rescued from a darkened dungeon; brought out into the light with no memory of her past. Her only certainty was her name: Suzanna.

Her flesh marks her as a daemon, one of a race of deadly warriors locked in a war with their mortal enemies, the daevas, that has scoured the surface of the world. Humans are irrelevant to them both. But it was Lukas, a human knight, who carried her from the dungeon, nursed her back to health, and protected her from harm. Her body may be daemonic, but her soul is not, and there is a far deeper connection between her and Lukas than either of them will say.

Lukas decides to bring her to Bastion, the hidden underground city of the humanva, to face the judgment of the Distant Nine. On the journey, the truth is revealed: Suzanna is a meldling, a rare fusion of daemonva and humanva. Meldlings are unstable, dangerous, and prone to total madness. Suzanna may be the first to keep her sanity, but if the Distant Nine decide that she is a threat, she will also be the last.

Suzanna must accept her past, and finally learn who or what she really is, underneath her daemonic skin. Drawn into events beyond her control, the meldling will become the key to ending the war – but will it be with the destruction or the salvation of the daemonva?

And are her feelings for one human knight real?

Final Sacrifice by S.M. SchmitzFinal Sacrifice by S.M. Schmitz:

Lottie is determined to end the nightmare her resurrection has caused and the constant threat she and her friends face because she exists. She has organized a war against the leaders of the company that transports people from her home planet to Earth, and the time has come for her battle to begin.

In the final book of the Resurrected series, Lottie and her friends must attempt to destroy the business that has spent years trying to kill them, and now, there are thousands of people all over the world who are participating in Lottie’s insurrection. If she fails, she and her friends will lose their lives. But if she succeeds, she and her friends will finally have the freedom to live.

This is the sequel to Resurrected and Insurrected.

Bear and Fox by Hollis ShilohBear and Fox by Hollis Shiloh:

Dane is a lonely bear shifter who doesn’t know if he’ll ever find a mate. Then one day he finds himself defending a fox from a brutal wolf attack. He’s found his mate—and the fox shifter is scared of him.

Will Dane ever earn the trust of his mate, a shy, handsome, suspicious man who’s had little reason to ever trust anyone?

Contains a honey-loving bear, a sweet, suspicious fox, gay uncles, a tiny bit of shifter politics, and enough food to shake a stick at.

Heat level: very low
~32,000 words

Sasharia En Garde by Sherwood SmithShasharia En Garde by Sherwood Smith:

First published as two books — Once a Princess, and Twice a Prince — this romantic fantasy has been revised and published as one book, as first intended. It is set in the same world as Crown Duel, to which Sasha’s mother, Sun, was once swept away by a real prince.

But not to happily ever after. Her prince vanished, and a wicked king took the throne. Since then, Sasha and Sun have been hiding on Earth, both training in martial arts until Sasha is tricked into going back to Khanerenth.

She’s more than ready to kick some bad-guy butt, but is the stylish pirate Zathdar the bad guy? Or artistic, dreamy Prince Jehan, son of the wicked king?

Meanwhile Sun is determined to cross worlds to save her daughter. She might not have been a very good princess, but nobody messes with Mom!

Revelations by Ella SummersRevelations by Ella Summers:

Five tales of magic, technology, and adventure plunge deeper into the fantasy world of Sorcery and Science.

Silas sees a young Prophet girl fight off a band of elite soldiers during Silas’s Vacation.

In Solstice Games Assassin, Silas alone can stop an assassination that could catapult two empires into war.

Fireworks tells the story of Marin’s explosive plan to revolutionize airship travel.

In Agent of SIN, Selpe spy Leonidas Chase and his partner find themselves neck-deep in an investigation that could pit them against their empire’s most powerful aristocrats.

When one of Elitia’s greatest researchers goes missing, Ariella and Davin track him to a renegade camp in Portal Keys.

Revelations is Book 3.5 in the Sorcery and Science series.

Noontide Sun by Jessie ThomasNoontide Sun by Jessie Thomas:

For seven long years, Sarah has heard nothing but her betrothed’s voice against a perpetual storm.

After incurring the wrath of a spiteful Redcoat officer capable of wielding magic, Sarah was separated across centuries from Gabriel, the young man she intended to marry. While Gabriel languishes in a prison where the years pass without aging him, Sarah is trapped in a present that isn’t her own with the key that can free him.

When the key starts to disintegrate, Sarah is forced into a race against time to rescue the young man she loves before they’re both lost to the depths of waning magic.

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The July Short Story Challenge – 31 Stories in 31 Days

Regular readers of this blog may know that I enjoy doing writing challenges on occasion such as the Eight Hour Fiction Challenge or E.P. Beaumont’s “Not Really SF Short Story Challenge”. What I like about such writing challenges is that they cause me to stretch myself as a writer, write something I probably wouldn’t have written otherwise and are generally great for both generating ideas and getting myself into the writing chair.

So I was quite intrigued when Dean Wesley Smith posted that he was planning to write a short story per day in July 2015. And I would certainly have loved to play along. However, there was only one problem. I was massively busy, when Dean Wesley Smith announced his challenge, juggling several translation jobs at once. So it seemed as if I wouldn’t have the time to take part in the July short story challenge.

But then July 1 rolled around, I had finished all my translation jobs and found myself with some free time on my hands, so I wrote an SF short story of 2200 words. It was a great feeling of accomplishment and when July 2 came and I still had no other urgent work to do, I wrote another short story, this time a 1600 words crime short. And so on…

After a couple of days, I had an uninterrupted streak of writing a story per day, a streak I was unwilling to break, so I wrote on, a short story per day all through July, until I found myself with 31 short stories altogether, which is – if I might say so myself – pretty damn amazing.

A few caveats: The stories I wrote for the July challenge were all on the short side. The longest story was 3300 words long, the shortest only 630 words with most of them falling somewhere between 1500 and 2500 words. Altogether, those 31 stories were a little over 50000 words long, i.e. NaNoWriMo length.

The genre range is pretty wide with a focus on the various flavours of speculative fiction:

  • Science fiction: 19 stories
  • Crime fiction: 4 stories
  • Epic fantasy: 3 stories
  • Weird western: 2 stories
  • Urban fantasy: 1 story
  • Steampunk: 1 story
  • Historical romance: 1 story

So how on Earth do you come up with ideas for 31 short stories? At first, I scoured every writing prompt site I knew. Chuck Wendig’s regular flash fiction challenges generated ideas for two stories. iO9’s concept art writing prompts gave birth to two more stories. An old exercise I remembered from my creative writing classes at university which involves describing an object and writing a story around it resulted in yet two more stories.

After a few days, I came up with my own idea generators. Since the concept art writing prompts had worked well for me, I scoured Pinterest, Deviantart and Art Station for evocative images. In the end, 16 stories were inspired by artwork of some kind. A lot of the images I used were SFF concept art, which probably accounts for the high incidence of SFF stories.

While looking for more art to serve as a story prompt, I also hit upon an unexpected source of inspiration, namely this art book, which collects covers of men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s and 1960s. However, the source of inspiration was not so much the actual cover artwork (largely because so much of it is massively racist and sexist) but the over-the-top melodramatic headlines found on those covers, for who could resist writing stories to go with headlines such as “Raped in the Black Waves of Terror”, “Women Who Prowl For Men” or “Mock Duck, the Mad Axeman of Chinatown” (apparently a reference to this real life Chinese American gangster). Melodramatic headlines from vintage men’s adventure magazines generated 5 stories altogether, though the headline often did not end up as the title of the story in question, because it turned out that it no longer matched the finished story. For example, of the three headlines quoted above only one, “Women Who Prowl For Men”, actually became the title of the resulting story.

In other cases, the inspiration was more random. For example, watching videos of nuclear explosions for a kaiju story beget an idea for a nuclear armageddon story. In another case, a story was inspired by a particularly funny typo. Watching the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize readings on TV caused me to write some Bachmann Prize style stories with lots of description and reference to family history, only that mine turned out to be crime shorts rather than literary fiction. And with some stories, I simply have no idea how they arose from the muck of my subconscious at all.

After a while, certain themes started to emerge with several stories being variation on a certain theme. For example, I found myself writing a lot of SF shorts set in “lost colonies” with humans living among and interacting with the remains of more technologically advanced civilisations. I’m not sure where that theme came from. I suspect it’s a result of using so many pieces of concept art for writing inspiration, since for some reason I felt drawn to images of crashed spaceships and ruins. At any rate, I’ll have a nice collection of “lost colony” science fiction to publish soon.

Another theme that emerged was science fiction stories about men, women, alien monsters and sex. Most of those stories were parodistic, featuring Campbellian square-jawed spacemen who don’t get the girl, alien monsters who do and women who wear neither brass bikinis nor serve as anybody’s damsel-in-distress. Occasionally, the women are also aliens in disguise who seduce and eat men. In short, it’s the sexual politics of Golden Age science fiction put into the blender. Again, I’m not entirely sure where that theme came from, though I suspect that the fact that I read both The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction by Justine Larbalastier and Galactic Suburbia by Lisa Yaszek, while doing the challenge, had a lot to do with that. Coincidentally, I also credit the lingering influence of Galactic Suburbia for the two serious sort-of suburban slice of life Cold War era retro SF stories I wrote for the challenge.

A third theme that showed up in several stories involved anthropormorphic cartoon animals with a twist (mostly ducks, but also rabbits), giant monsters and just outright bizarrity. These mostly showed up later in the challenge, which suggest that by then I had simply let go of all inhibitions that would have made me reconsider whether it’s really a good idea to write a story about an alien scientist disguised as an anthropomorphic cartoon character who finds himself forced to work as a mob enforcer. So if there’s one thing this challenge taught me it’s that my imagination can go to some very weird places if I let it.

Interestingly, none of the 31 stories I wrote were part of an established series or set in an established world, which is pretty much the opposite from the experience Dean Wesley Smith had for his challenge. I did start writing a Shattered Empire prequel short as well as a prequel short for an upcoming new SF series, but in both cases I set the stories aside, because I quickly realised that they would be too long for the scope of the challenge. I think the fact that I knew the characters and their worlds so well worked against me in this case, because it meant that they and their stories demanded more space than the challenge allowed. Whereas backstory couldn’t really get in the way with characters I had only created for this particular story.

However, the fact that all of the characters for the various stories were created from scratch doesn’t necessary mean that they were one-dimensional (which is a good thing, because I am not a fan of one-dimensional characters). Particularly the more introspective Ingoborg-Bachmann-Prize influenced stories cram a bit of character depth into such short length. There was also quite a bit of diversity of characters showing up in the stories. There were male and female characters, gay and straight characters, characters of various races and ethnicities as well as a few who were not human at all. Indeed, one of my favourite stories to come out of this challenge is a doomed gay romance on the eve of the apocalypse.

One thing I did notice was a higher than normal percentage of stories written in the omniscient point-of-view. All in all, I have 5 first person stories, 19 third person stories and 7 omniscient stories. I guess I defaulted to omniscient narration for seven stories, because omniscient narration makes it easy to sum up events. And the time limits of the challenge quite often demanded such summaries.

So what did I learn doing this challenge? Well, first of all, I learned that it is possible to write a short story in a day (which, to be fair, I already knew) and do it again the next day (which I didn’t know, since I hadn’t tried it before). I also learned that I can come up with an idea for a story on very short notice, which is certainly a useful skill to have. Finally, I learned that when I let go of expectations and preconceptions and just write, both bizarrity and magic can happen.

Will I do this challenge again? Maybe not for a whole month, but certainly for a week or so. In fact, the relatively dead time between Christmas and New Year might be ideal to tackle something like this again.

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New story available: Hangman’s Wages

I’ve told you that there would be more new release announcements in the near future and here is the next one. Of course, this is probably not the best time to announce this, considering half the internet is riveted on the Hugo Awards announcements (I’ll probably post about that on my personal blog tomorrow or the day after), but what the hell?

Like the two crime shorts collected in Spiked Tea, this story is another which originated with the July Short Story Challenge proposed by Dean Wesley Smith. The goal was to write one short story per day in July. I played along and actually managed to complete the challenge (I’ll blog some more about that soon).

Hangman’s Wages is one of the stories to come out of that challenge and the only historical romance among the lot coincidentally. Most stories were one of the many flavours of speculative fiction, a handful were crime shorts.

Hangman’s Wages
Hangman's Wages by Cora BuhlertGermany in the Middles Ages: Ulrich, executioner to Count Dietmar of Finsterwalde, finds his workload unexpectedly doubled, when Count Dietmar orders him to hang Anna, a young thief caught picking pockets during the public execution of a notorious bandit.

Ulrich feels sorry for Anna, but orders are orders. And so he leads the terrified Anna to the hanging tree, determined to make sure that she suffers as little as possible. But as he places the noose around Anna’s neck, Ulrich finds that she touches his heart like no one before her.

But how can he save Anna, when the merciless Count Dietmar has already ordained her death?

More information.
Length: 3300 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, Oyster, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral, You Heart Books and XinXii.

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Two new e-books available: Spiked Tea and The Faulty Television Receiver

Regular readers of this blog as well as my personal blog may recall that I occasionally enjoy doing writing challenges such as the eight hour fiction challenge.

I’ve been doing another writing challenge this past month, hence also the light blogging. This challenge was inspired by Dean Wesley Smith, who announced on his blog that he was planning to write one short story per day in July. This challenge was discussed on two writing groups, of which I’m a member. Initially, I didn’t expect that I’d find the time to play along. But then July 1 arrived and I had time, so I wrote a short story. And then I wrote another on July 2 and then another on July 3 and so on, until I had written 31 short stories in 31 days.

I’ll blog a bit more about my experiences doing the story a day challenge later. However, having written 31 stories in the past 31 days also means that I have a lot of new releases coming up in the near future. Not 31, since several of the stories are very short and also thematically linked, so I’ll do themed collections.

And today, I want to announce the first release that originated with the story a day challenge, a collection of two crime shorts about family heirlooms, inheritances, tea and murder. I wrote those two stories fairly early in the challenge, which is why I’ve been able to put them through the editing and publishing process already.

So brew up a cup of your favourite tea and settle back with:

Spiked Tea
Spiked Tea by Cora BuhlertTwo tales of family heirlooms, inheritances, tea and murder.

Spiked Tea

Matthew is getting tired of waiting for the cancer to finally claim his eccentric aunt Annemarie. So he decides to help nature take its course… by adding some morphine to Annemarie’s beloved tea.

The Milk Jug

It’s neither beautiful nor valuable, but the milk jug has been in Beth’s family for four generations now, passed on from mother to daughter and travelling from France via Germany to America. But when Beth brings it home to her apartment in a hipster suburb of Philadelphia, the milk jug stretches her relationship with her boyfriend Ryan to a breaking point…

More information.
Length: 4400 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, Oyster, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral, You Heart Books and XinXii.

The second new release I have to announce for today actually predates the July writing challenge, since I finished it sometime in June.

This story also marks the return of Alfred and Bertha, the troubled couple living a marvellous science-fictional life in the 21st century, whom we already met in The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg.

In many ways, this is a challenge story as well, for it was written in response to the “Not Really SF Short Story Challenge” issued by writer E.P. Beaumont.

Basically, the idea is to write a perfectly mundane short story in the clunky style of Golden Age science fiction complete with “As you know, Bob…” dialogue and overexplanation of every single bit of technology the characters interact with, no matter how mundane.

The return of Alfred and Bertha was once again inspired by a skit by brilliant German comedian Loriot, in this case Der kaputte Fernseher (The broken television), though the twist at the end is my own.

The Faulty Television Receiver
The Faulty Television Receiver by Cora BuhlertBertha and Alfred, married for twenty years, enjoy a truly science fictional life in the twenty-first century. But in spite of all the technological marvels surrounding them, a faulty television receiver can still lead to argument and cause them to examine their marriage.

This parodistic piece is a mundane short story of 4100 words, written in the style of science fiction’s “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s.

 

 

More information.
Length: 4200 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, Oyster, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral, You Heart Books and XinXii.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2015

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 June 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 science fiction, space opera, military science fiction, science fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, YA fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery, time travel, horror, werewolf detectives, regency werebears, starships, space pirates, the afterlife, aliens, people who live in walls, lots 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:

Native+Cover_5445160_Front+CoverThe Salvation of Innocence by Robert E. Balsey Jr.:

A young woman embarks on a harrowing journey to save her world’s last vestige of magical healing in Robert E. Balsley Jr.’s epic new fantasy novel, The Salvation of Innocence.

Althaya, the goddess of healing, wishes to share her ability to help those in need, providing “empaths,” which give clerics the means to magically heal others—a means that some people fear and wish to destroy. In response, a dark magic known as the Purge is created to seek out and eradicate all empaths.

But one lone survivor remains, spirited away by Althaya and hidden in a magical stasis field. There, the last empath must remain alive until the time comes for rescue—but the Purge will not rest until the last empath is found and killed.

Three thousand years later, Kristen Rosilie Clearwater is only beginning to realize her destiny. Having been brought to the island of InnisRos as an orphan, she has long felt a “tug” toward something she can’t quite understand. But when she begins experiencing the dreams of a young child, Kristen knows that the two are somehow connected—and that the fate of the world, and the future of healing magic, rests on her shoulders.

Finished with Life by Scott BartlettFinished with Life but Unable to Die by Scott Bartlett:

At ninety-one, Michael Haynes finds his terminal cancer diagnosis a relief.

He’s ready to move on from this world. In fact, he’s convinced his death will make things better for his children, providing both financial ease and closure for a long-ago event that still haunts them all.

But just when he thinks he is finally shuffling off, Michael wakes from a coma to find he has undergone a miraculous new procedure and his time here is far from over.

As his condition piques the government’s interest, Michael begins to discover a shocking secret about how the universe works. Instead of solving everything with his death, he must contend not only with continuing to live indefinitely but also with stopping his family from tearing itself apart.

All 5 novellas in the Unable to Die series are available now!

Ascendancy by Bradford BatesAscendancy: Rise of the Fallen by Bradford Bates:

John Blackthorn is one of the Gifted, and a member of the Ascendancy. The Gifted, under the direction of Adam, are dedicated to protecting humanity from the supernatural. Using the gift of magic, the Ascendancy polices the supernatural world. Now facing a new threat from the Fallen an alliance must be forged to save humanity. The Fallen are up to something new, and the Ascendancy must take drastic action to save the city of San Francisco. John and his partner Sarah Atsidii will work together to stop whatever the Fallen are planning.

This is the first tale in the Ascendancy Origins Series.
The novella is just over 36k words.

The Bramblewood Werebear by K.M. CarrollThe Bramblewood Werebear by K.M. Carroll:

Jennie Walden is a young woman who has written papers for natural science journals, and has corresponded with a fellow naturalist, Oliver Gunnersen, for years.

When Oliver proposes long distance, Jennie travels to Oliver’s home at Bramblewood Estate to wed her mysterious friend. She is astonished at his size and physical strength, yet his adorable shyness remains, if she can see past his imposing exterior.

Oliver has kept his bear form secret from Jennie, fearful that if she knew that he was a monster, she would flee. But the werewolves of the neighboring city of Grayton have emerged to mingle with the populace. A certain pack has begun threatening him and the treasure he protects on the Bramblewood land. The werewolves know that he cannot tolerate another shifter in his territory … and threaten to turn Jennie.

Now Jennie must choose whether to flee, or whether to stick with this bear-man she has grown to love from a distance. The time is coming when their very survival depends on the love of the other.

Reunifikation by Timothy L. CerepakaReunification by Timothy L. Cerepaka:

When one knight travels to a another world to find his long-lost sister, he is drawn into a conflict deeper than he knows.

With three photographs of his sister as his only clues, Rii, a Knight of Se-Dela, travels to Xeeo, a world of science and technology completely unlike his magical and mystical home world of Dela, where he hopes to reunite with his sister after her mysterious disappearance six years ago.

It soon turns out that the disappearance of Rii’s sister is linked to a vaster conflict between two ancient organizations that stretches back to the dawn of the two worlds themselves. And when Rii finds himself stranded on this world, he must race to find his sister before the mysterious figures who want him dead end his life.

Magic Times by Harvey ClickMagic Times by Harvey Click:

Everybody wants a little magic—but just a little can do a lot of damage!

A young man not overly burdened with brains hitchhikes to Ohio in search of his runaway girlfriend, but he finds a lot more than he’s looking for. Soon Jason is chin-deep in a bizarre and perilous predicament involving a witch, a crippled magician, a sinister businessman, a mysterious stalker, and a book of magic that could bring about the end of the world.

Harvey Click, best known for his lurid horror tales, explores a different genre with this darkly comic coming-of-age novel. He mixes a tablespoon of black magic with a teaspoon of zesty sex, a sprinkle of savory satire, a dash of dire danger, a splash of spicy suspense, a pinch of pungent irony, a cup of coarsely ground comedy, and a full measure of sheer madness.

Awakened by Shei DarksbaneAwakened by Shei Darksbane and Annathesa Nikola Darksbane:

Geeky lesbian Dakota Shepherd was just a bored night security guard, working at a museum in Knoxville, Tennessee until one fateful encounter changed it all. A rogue wizard. A demonic ritual. A silver chalice. Dakota Awakened, Hellfire blazing from her hands.

Dakota’s powers are a danger to herself and everyone around her, and she has to learn to control them quickly or risk losing her one chance to finally fulfill a lifelong dream.

While coming to terms with her new reality, she stumbles upon a secret that changed the course of her life.

Now she wants to know who is responsible for the holes in her memory, the blocks that hold back her powers, and all the years she spent alone.

Who put her back to sleep when she Awakened years before?

Awakened is the first book in the Auralight Codex: Dakota Shepherd series.

The Layneworth Monsters by Jolie Du PreThe Layneworth Monsters by Jolie Du Pre:

There’s a vicious serial killer in town that’s keeping the detectives of Layneworth and the entire city up at night. Some think it’s a ruthless human, while others could swear werewolves are behind the havoc.

The Buscettos are far from human. Though they appear like the typical, charming family to the outside world—they’re a sex and bloodthirsty monster race that has stealthily roamed the planet since the fifth century. Known as Zxxtergins, they often leave their victims mutilated and nude in their pursuit of carnal desire.

Detective Brenda Martin and her partner Robert Moretti are determined to crack the case, but at what cost? Vaccinations are said to keep the Zxxtergins at bay. When Brenda forgets to keep up with her vaccinations, does she too become a victim? Amongst all of the cross-species love and uncontrollable lust, loss of life both monster and human, is Layneworth, let alone the world, safe from the Zxxtergin race?

81kGhvlmWFL._SL1500_IMPACT by Matthew Eliot:

It’s been nine months since the meteorites hit. They brought both destruction and disease, carrying a mysterious pathogen that has killed untold millions, while turning others into Meteorwraiths — zombie-like human relics.

Now, the tattered remnants of humanity do their best to survive.

Alice and Adrian have lost everything except each other. Both barely twelve-years-old, they fight their way across the ruins of Europe, in a desperate search for their family.

James Walscombe is senior safety specialist trapped inside top-secret US nuclear facility Atlantis with two colleagues. They survived the impact, unscathed. But now, one of them has turned into a psychotic murderer.

Father Paul struggles to keep his faith in a world resentful towards its gods. His life isn’t the one he thought he’d chosen when he entered the seminary, and now new, dark deities are creeping out from the shadows.

Earth’s survivors are trying to adapt to the harsh realities of the post-impact world.

But the worst is yet to come.

A1x4mV0lCpL._SL1500_The Green Children by Domino Finn:

Maxim and Diego don’t always get along. But they get results.
After missing for three days, a young girl is found wandering the Arizona forest. She’s despondent, with no memory of her ordeal beyond eerie delusions. When a second girl disappears, a pattern emerges that sets two police departments racing against the clock to save her.

Only two men dare take on the mysterious Sycamore wilderness: Maxim Dwyer is a small-town detective with attachment issues who faces off against a rival from the county police. Diego de la Torre, a biker troublemaker with an anti-authority complex, walks a fine line between responsible citizen and vigilante outlaw.

Together, the unlikely pair isn’t always on the same side of the law, but they are the girl’s best hope. Unfortunately, things in Sycamore are rarely what they seem. Maxim and Diego have more problems than they know, and if those don’t catch up with them, whatever lurks in the forest will.

Earthbound by Mark R. HealyEarthbound by Mark R. Healy:

The Earth is suffocating under toxic skies and there’s only one way for those left behind to escape – the space elevator that sits atop the massive structure known as the Reach.

Knile Oberend is an outcast, a man exiled for the crimes of his past. Thrown an unlikely lifeline, he has less than forty-eight hours to cash in his ticket at the top of the Reach and escape off-world.

Disgraced cop Alec Duran had a bright future until he made one fateful mistake. Now his last shot at redemption becomes entwined with the fate of the very man who ruined his life three years ago.

Alton Wilt, an underworld boss desperate to leave Earth, falls upon a rare find – the name of a man who is about to be granted passage off-world. With his minions in tow he is hell bent on stealing that privilege for himself.

As time runs out, these three men find themselves on a collision course that will lead to a confrontation from which only one can emerge victorious.

Shifting Infinity by Patty JansenShifting Infinity by Patty Jansen:

Melati escaped New Jakarta space station when it fell into Allion’s hands. Her family was left behind the enemy lines.

She signed up for active duty with the International Space Force in the hope they would liberate the station. Instead, they chose to maintain a crippling siege that has lasted for ten months.

A small ship escapes from the station with on board a single male occupant whose mind appears to have been wiped.

With her skills in artificial mindbases, Melati is part of the team that tries to get information out of him.
He could be a human Trojan horse sent by Allion and his calls for help nothing more than a trap to get ISF to send people to the station. Or he could be a genuine escapee from the station where the recycling processes have collapsed and ten thousand civilians have mere weeks until they die of asphyxiation. Either way, the time for watching and waiting is over. War is about to begin.

This is the sequel to Shifting Reality.

The Sahara Conspiracy by Patty JansenAmbassador: The Sahara Conspiracy by Patty Jansen:

3 December 2114

Cory Wilson is woken in the middle of the night with a summons to appear in the president of Nations of Earth’s office. An aid worker in Djibouti has discovered a shipment of alien guns.

As ambassador to gamra, the extraterrestrial organisation which controls the Exchange, the FTL wormhole network, Cory has often been critical of Earth’s handling of extraterrestrial problems. This is his moment to shine, to apply his knowledge about alien customs, to, in the words of the president, “get those idiots out of there”.

Except the usual suspects, the Zhori mafia who have caused trouble on Earth for a long time, are nowhere to be seen. This is something far more dangerous, something that involves all of northern Africa, something that provokes the anger of Asto, gamra’s largest world. Asto’s army is already prowling in orbit, ready to strike.

919XQpbIV1L._SL1500_Dead Reckoning and Other Stories by David M. Kelly:

From David M. Kelly comes a cast of characters all in need of some serious therapy.

In Dead Reckoning, Hector discovers that life after death ain’t easy when your shorts itch and your ass belongs to a whip-wielding giant. And pity poor Murphy, struggling to keep the peace between his team of geeky scientists and a gung-ho lieutenant, as they investigate a mysterious alien ship—all while dealing with his own personal case of Murphy’s Law.

First Contact is always complicated, especially when you have to call in cranky old relic, Casteneda, to bail you out. Fresh off the battlefield, Matt Holbrook is also grappling with a perplexing new species, but all he wants is to make it home.

Earl Duarte is in for some interesting pet therapy in How much is that doggy? And as for Elvis, he definitely needs some therapy. In One for the Money he’s re-entered the building, but is kinda confused. Meanwhile, lovesick Dan wonders if Mel will ever notice him in the technology-obsessed world of Version Control.

Hexad: The Factory by Al K. LineHexad: The Factory by Al K. Line

IT WASN’T GOING TO BE A NORMAL SATURDAY…

Dale dug furtively, feeling like a muppet but unable to get the previous evening’s conversation with Amanda out of his mind. A stupid, drunken conversation, full of conjecture about the possibility of time travel. Then one of them, he couldn’t remember which, had come up with the idea that if it really was possible at some point in their future then they’d go back in time and bury proof under the apple tree in the garden.

Dale knew he was acting foolish, and prayed Amanda didn’t wake up to find him digging in the dirt. He couldn’t help it though, however ridiculous it seemed. There was that nagging at the back of his mind: what if?

Wraith by Lita LockeWraith by Lita Locke:

Welcome to ‘Howling Moon Detective Agency’ — where the cases (of beer) are cold, the dames are hot-blooded (important if you’re a vampire), the crims are cool-headed … oh, and the co-owner’s a Werewolf!

But that’s nothing out of the ordinary, and just a regular day at the office, really!

What’s not right is that a Scottish castle has a Bogle, a York theatre needs ghost busting, and a grown man can’t go five minutes without crying.

It’s up to the team at ‘Howling Moon’ to sort the clues, catch a killer, avenge the dead and scare off the nearly departed still treading the Victorian theatre boards. Thing is: they’ve got two weeks to solve the supernatural, otherwise it’s ghost lights out for everyone!

Vergence by John MarchVergence by John March:

Ebryn has trained as a caster from a young age. He sets out to find a place for himself, travelling to Vergence city, where he hopes to be accepted amongst his own kind.

But Ebryn doesn’t know he carries a dangerous secret with him. A secret which threatens to overturn the delicate balance between the factions vying for dominance in the city, the heart of a great trading empire.

Orim, a skilled warrior, is sent by the ruler of Vergence to discover the truth. Opposing Orim is a deadly assassin, tasked with permanently burying the past.
As the struggle for control of the city starts to unfold Ebryn finds he’s not the only one with a hidden history.

Vergence is the first book in the Vergence cycle.

An Aching in the Bone by Genevieve McKayAn Aching in the Bone by Genevieve McKay:

Carolina Brown finally has the life she’s always dreamed of. She lives in a fantastic house with a family who loves her. She is following her dream of being a chef (just like her idol Gordon Ramsay) and she even has a horse of her own.

So what if she’s still a hermit? All she wants is for things to stay exactly as they are.

But, like it or not, things are changing. Cara’s family enter her in a province-wide Junior Chef competition; one she knows she’s going to fail miserably at. That creepy boy from next door lurks behind every tree and, worst of all, her beloved friend Henry is losing his zest for living.

When forces from outside threaten Cara’s world she will stop at nothing to protect her family.

This is the sequel to The Opposite of Living.

torrent+coverThe Torrent by Simone Pond:

Grace has survived Chief Morray’s attempt to keep her trapped inside the mainframe, but at a terrible cost: leaving her mother behind. Giving up training at the academy in order to wait for Ava’s return. Grace wants to do the right thing, but it’s never that simple. While Ava struggles against Morray in the virtual reality, Grace is left alone in the real world to fight her own battles. There’s a new corrupt authority figure. A regional council to sway. A war to stop. And a promise to keep to a precious young soul. How can Grace save everyone, including herself?

The Torrent is the final book in the New Agenda Series.

The Book of Daniel by Mat RidleyThe Book of Daniel by Mat Ridley:

Daniel Stein is having the worst day of his life. The last day of his life, in fact. And things are only going to get worse for him tomorrow.

Death is only the beginning for Dan. Waking up to find that his wife, Joanna, has also been killed is bad enough, but then Dan also finds a sword shoved into his hand, and is told that the only way he’s ever going to get to Jo—and Heaven—is if he does as God tells him and fights against the forces of Satan’s army.

But demons are the least of Dan’s problems in the afterlife. There’s also his hatred of God to contend with.

And Dan is pretty sure that God hates him right back.

Welcome to Purgatory.

Pirates by Jim RudnickPirates by Jim Rudnick:

“Tanner Scott, a RIM Confederacy Naval officer, has fought many battles against both humans and aliens. Years ago, he proved victorious against a band of aliens. His ongoing fight with his own alcoholism however remains a stalemate.

And suddenly, Pirates have appeared on the RIM. They have kidnapped the passengers of many craft and sold them into slavery and Scott is ordered to find them and rescue them.

But the pirates aren’t acting alone. They are sponsored by a powerful Royal with ambitious plans, and she isn’t about to let some Navy captain stand in the way of her mining empire. Scott must rescue the slaves while simultaneously navigating the treacherous space of interstellar politics.

If he fails, a Royal will gain more power, the entire Confederacy may unravel, and Scott’s alcohol addiction will be the least of his worries…”

The Holeys in the Wall by Helen RyanThe Holeys in the Wall by Helen Ryan:

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! KABOOM!

Bo had never heard anything like it before. Red and white dust was everywhere and big bits of the Wall crumbled away.

‘Holey terror!’ shouted Mr Buzz in Bo’s left ear. ‘Take cover!’

What would you do if your world was falling apart? Run, hide or try and save the day? The Holeys all live in a gigantic stone wall that is beginning to crumble and fall. They are frightened if the Wall falls what will become of their home?

Bo is the youngest Holey. He is asked to go where no Holey has gone before, beyond the Wall. He must seek the mysterious Builder who the Holeys believe will save them. Bo discovers there is more to life than the Wall that houses them all.

But what happens if Holeys don’t follow the rules?
Well everyone follows the rules. Don’t they?

51pkaf1EulL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Mir: Shamansworld Series Box Set by Jessica Rydill:

Follow the adventures of young shaman Annat Vasilyevich and her close-knit but eccentric family as they travel between worlds and fight fearsome enemies.

From quirky humour to deep sorrow, watch her as she grows from an awkward teenager to a young woman, trying to master her magical powers, understand her complex sexual nature and avoid getting killed by fanatical medieval lords, foreign wizards and the Inquisition.

Annat is a Wanderer and a shaman in a world where Wanderers are outcast and shamans are viewed with fear and suspicion. Will she survive to adulthood, or will she be killed and exiled to the underworld where shamans continue to travel after death?

This boxed set includes the first three novels in this fantasy adventure series: Children of the Shaman, The Glass Mountain, and Malarat. Each book is over 100,000 words long.

SAFE by Hollis ShilohSAFE by Hollis Shiloh:

Afraid of being outed, Neil Hunter, “Hunt,” dreads meeting the new “human lie detector” at the precinct — a registered empath who can sense truth and falsehood.

But Skyler Zane is more of a mess than any closeted cop could ever be, with an abusive ex and a history of mental issues. And instead of avoiding him, Hunt ends up taking him under his wing, looking out for him.

And maybe falling for him, too. Everything is going well — including their unexpected feelings for each other — until Sky’s skills come to the wrong attention. Now it’s up to Hunt to find him — and figure out how to keep them both alive.

The Deep Link by Veronica SicoeThe Deep Link by Veronica Sicoe:

Taryn’s DREAM of forging an alliance with powerful aliens has become a NIGHTMARE. She is linked to a ruthless warlord, an alien killing machine who could destroy humanity on a whim.

Taryn will go down fighting before she surrenders to the monster invading her mind.

But in her struggle to regain control, she finds her tormentor has irreversibly changed her, and she has in turn changed him. The link is turning her into a weapon, drawing strength from the world-slayer who had no regard for another’s life—until now.

And their powerful connection doesn’t remain unnoticed.

As death and destruction erupt around them, quickly growing out of control, theymust carve their way out of their old lives with a single common purpose: unite their forces and change the future.

Grand Master's Game by Aurora SpringerGrand Master’s Game by Aurora Springer:

Spin across the galaxy – Violet and her Grand Master hunt their enemies

Cracks in the portal web threaten galactic civilization, and suspicions fall on the mysterious Grand Masters with their immense psychic powers. Once, there were twelve Grand Masters, humans and aliens, on the Council. Now there are eleven. One was killed when the young pawn, Violet, rescued her Grand Master, Athanor, from the Red Queen’s dungeon. The Red Queen fled the fight and she lurks out of sight, regenerating her energies.

Athanor devises a risky plan to expose his enemies on the Council and force the Red Queen into the open. His strategy will use Violet’s empathic skills as his secret weapon. She wrestles with her erratic talents and doubts about their unequal partnership. In their search for revenge, they must contend with the portal crisis, psychic traps and hostile aliens. In the inevitable battle of Grand Masters, Violet and Athanor each will face their worst nightmares. What is the sacrifice for victory?

This is the sequel to Grand Master’s Pawn.

Machination by Ella SummersMachination by Ella Summers:

For sixteen years, the alliance between the sorcerers of Elitia and the technology-powered Selpe Empire has held. But forces from both outside and within want to see that bond broken—and now they may finally succeed.

When the Selpe emperor is assassinated the same night his twin half-Elition sons vanish without a trace, the high king of Elitia tasks Ariella with uncovering a traitor in the Selpe ranks. She has never felt comfortable chasing conspiracies. If she doesn’t solve this one, though, the traitor will strike again—and the rule of the Selpe Empire will fall to those who want to turn her and every other Elition into living weapons.

Desperate times call for unlikely allies. Ariella teams up with Silas, the dead emperor’s bodyguard; Marin, a bomb-building airship engineer; and Leonidas, a disgraced Selpe intelligence agent. But someone really doesn’t want them to unravel this conspiracy. And this mysterious someone is doing a pretty thorough job of trying to kill them.

Machination is Book 3 in the Sorcery and Science fantasy adventure series.

SSF-IV (cover)Friends in Command by Joe Vasicek:

THE FUTURE OF THE OUTWORLDS NOW LIES IN UNCERTAIN HANDS.

The war for the Outworlds is on. The Imperials may have lost the first round, but they’re back—and this time, a ragtag flotilla isn’t going to stop them.

When Aaron recieves a captain’s commission in the new Outworld Confederacy, Mara is his natural choice for second in command. But Mara never expected to live past the first few battles. She only joined the resistance to avenge her father, and fears the monster she’s starting to become. The only thing she has left to live for now is her friends.

The Imperials aren’t the only enemy in this war, though. The friends must face a threat from within.

This is book 4 in the Sons of the Starfarers series.

The Great Symmetry by James R. WellsThe Great Symmetry by James R. Wells:

Exoarchaeologist Evan McElroy has made a discovery about a long-extinct alien race. But his sponsors realize they can make huge gains if the new findings are kept completely secret. Step one of their plan is to kill the entire research team – starting with Evan.

As Evan flees for his life, his trajectory awakens a long-buried struggle. The Infoterrorists, who believe all ideas are screaming to be free, have waited years for the right moment to take on the seven great families that control all of civilization. This could be their opportunity. Or, it could be time for millions to die.

The Great Symmetry is classic science fiction from the great-grandson of H. G. Wells.

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Our Four Year Anniversary

July 3 marks the four year anniversary of Pegasus Pulp. We started in July 2011 with three e-books for sale. Three years later that number has grown to 74 titles in two languages with four more currently going through editing, proofing and formatting.

Our sales could still be better, but they are growing from year to year, which is the most important thing. We also crossed the 1000 sales threshold earlier this year. Plus, we’ve managed to expand our reach and Pegasus Pulp e-books are now available at 92 retailers worldwide.

And now for the percentage breakdown of sales channels (rounded). For comparison, here are the respective figures for 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Warning: Lengthy statistical neepery under the cut: Continue reading

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2015

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 May 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 science fiction, space opera, military science fiction, science fantasy, paranormal romance, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, YA fantasy, epic fantasy, time travel romance, Steampunk, weird western, horror, vampires, dragons, djinns, starships, magical schools, teen superheroes, otherworldly dogs, magical bookstores, vampiric bees, villainous teabags 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:

The Lost World by Susan AlisonThe Lost World by Susan Alison

Lily’s life was dog-free and uneventful until one night when it became absolutely the reverse.

That same night Matt Lannings was reluctantly drawn into the fantastical scenario that Lily’s life had become – the only thing was that Lily believed she’d been chosen to save another world in another universe – and Matt didn’t.

Matt didn’t believe any of it!

Katie Fforde (internationally best-selling author, and President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association) said of ‘The Lost World’ — ‘Magical! Full of warmth and humour.’

Malevolent by K.M. CarrollMalevolent by K.M. Carroll

Libby is a high school senior who should be preparing for graduation. Instead, she’s been bedridden for six months with valley fever, stuck on her father’s farm in California’s central valley.

When the beekeepers arrive in February, bringing their bees to pollinate the almond crop, one of them looks like a vampire, acts like a vampire, says his name is Malevolent, and tries to murder Libby’s lousy boyfriend. Yet he offers her honey that dramatically improves her illness, and his bees sing words that she can understand.

Mal took up beekeeping in order to preserve the last remnants of his humanity. What started as a simple trip to California quickly turns into something far more complicated, as he meets a lovely girl who is deathly ill, infected by Mal’s own brother. Feeling guilty and responsible, Mal sets out to heal her with his precious, magic-infused honey, and with each passing day, comes closer to breaking his personal creed:

Befriend Many, Serve Some, Trust Few, Love None.

Once healed, Libby has the strength to break up with her boyfriend–touching off a war between Mal and his brother. This escalates into a realm of awful magic Libby has never dreamed of, where she is both pawn and prize in the battle against a Necromancer. In the end, Libby must face her growing feelings for Mal, and decide whether to destroy him–or rescue him from his soulless existence.

Transcend by Stacy ClaflinTranscend by Stacy Claflin

Eylin is hiding in the underground city from the group of ancients who want her dead, but she’s not safe even there. On the other side of some massive tunnels, an unknown group is systematically removing magic from each underground city.

As pressure mounts, Eylin has big decisions to make, and each could have deadly consequences. After being personally attacked, she makes a bold decision, and goes after it with the hopes of saving those she loves.

She becomes deeply invested in an ancient culture. If she gets too close, she could put all of her loved ones at risk.

This is book 8 of The Transformed series.

Hunted Hero Hunting by Timothy EllisHunted Hero Hunting by Timothy Ellis

Jonathon Hunter’s world grows darker each day. Assassins, Pirates, Bounty Hunters, Mercenaries, and Retros, all want a piece of him. Each trap leads to yet another trap. When the unthinkable happens, the prey becomes the predator. The hunted goes hunting. But how does a young spiritual warrior cope, as the kills mount?

The Hunter Legacy series:
1. Hero at large
2. Hunted Hero Hunting
3. Send in the Hero ***forthcoming***

Alex Armstrong: Awakening by Hayes FarleyAlex Armstrong: Awakening by Hayes Farley

Alex Armstrong is definitely not telekinetic.

But he will be. And all it takes is a little red pill.

Welcome to Pal Tech, the top-secret school for kids with latent telekinetic powers. Like the other freshmen, Alex was recruited sixteen years ago, when neonatal scans revealed his capacity for telekinesis. Now that he’s of age and his powers are ripe for unlocking, he can begin his training.

Alex excels. Whether he’s navigating a mock Star Wars Trench Run in lab class, crushing his friends in a game of no-hands basketball, or dodging a paintball-shooting helicopter drone during his Simtest, Alex makes telekinesis look easy.

Pal Tech’s president takes notice, moving Alex out of the simulation rooms and into field work with the upperclassmen. His first assignment: join the juniors as they oversee the school’s latest diamond shipment.

But somebody talks, and what should have been a routine delivery gets intercepted by a rogue telekin—a rogue telekin who’s already murdered two senators in his quest to kill Pal Tech’s founders.

With the other students scrambling to survive, Alex must stop the telekin before he causes any more destruction. There’s just one problem: The bad guy can fly.

The Twiceborn Queen by Marina FinlaysonThe Twiceborn Queen by Marina Finlayson

Kate O’Connor’s had a rough week. Thrown into the middle of a war of succession between the daughters of the dragon queen, her introduction to the hidden world of the shifters almost proved fatal. Now, because of Kate and her new powers, that hidden realm has been revealed to the world, which hasn’t exactly won Kate any popularity contests.

Still, it’s not all bad news. After all, it’s not every day someone you love comes back from the dead. Throw in a hot new boyfriend, and suddenly Kate’s got a lot to live for—which is bad timing, because now the queen’s set a bounty on her head and every shifter in Sydney is trying to collect it.

Kate may have defeated a dragon already, but there are plenty more where that one came from. As her enemies close in and the body count mounts, Kate begins a desperate search for allies. The deadly game of the proving continues. If Kate is to save the people she loves, failure is not an option. The rules are simple: win or die.

The Twiceborn Queen is the second book in the urban fantasy trilogy The Proving.

Revelation by Kevin HardmanRevelation by Kevin Hardman

The pressure of being a super – especially a teen super – can get to anyone, as Jim (aka Kid Sensation) has witnessed firsthand. Now he wonders if he himself might be succumbing to the strain in some way, as he can’t shake the feeling that he is now being watched by some new stalker. Moreover, despite his wide slate of powers, he hasn’t been able to discover to a single clue to substantiate the existence of this potential new enemy, making him wonder if it’s all in his head.

Looking forward to a few days of R&R and hanging out with his friends, Jim’s downtime is interrupted by the unsettling news that Alpha Prime, the world’s greatest superhero (and Jim’s father), is missing. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Jim finds his world rocked by an even more ominous revelation: his deranged half-brother, Paramount, has escaped from confinement in a maximum security installation.

In the course of investigating these events and trying to ascertain what connection, if any, there is between them, Jim becomes privy to information concerning a potent alien device capable of laying waste to the entire planet. But he’s not the only one – an enigmatic villain wants the alien technology for his own purposes, and it’s up to Jim to find a way to stop him before the world pays the ultimate price.

The Hartshire Bank by R.D. HendersonThe Hartshire Bank by R.D. Henderson

Crepier is missing and the bank he created is foundering at the start of Hartshire Bank, the fourth novella in the Nambroc Sequence, a fantasy novella. His disappearance sends members of Watley Greywall’s crew reeling. Crepier was the longest-serving lieutenant in Watley’s crew.

Sir Sander Guyle, a reputed crime lord who wants to be thought of as legitimate merchant, steps into the void created by Crepier’s disappearance to lead the bank. He seizes the opportunity of managing the bank to complete the evolution to becoming a tycoon.

Things become dangerous and precarious when Crepier’s dead body is discovered on the rocky banks of the Waterford River a few leagues outside of Hartshire. The cause of death was several stab wounds in the chest.

Several senior members of Watley’s crew suspect that Sir Sander Guyle was responsible for Crepier’s death.

Watley, on the other hand, does not seem to be too troubled by the murder of Crepier, her most loyal and longest-serving lieutenant.

It appears Watley Greywall is hiding something, but what is it?

Planet Bloom by Jessie JasenPlanet Bloom by Jessie Jasen

The year is 2350.
Earth is in the Planetary Alliance with aliens who claim to be our creators. But not everybody agrees with the new doctrine.
Starship Scorpius is sent to explore space in search of advanced extraterrestrial technologies that will give us an advantage over our alien allies.
The battle for supremacy begins here…

The race is on when Scorpius encounters an alien phenomenon that leaves a mysterious extraterrestrial technology stranded on the ship—a strange machine that can teleport the crew to parallel dimensions.

But a deadly accident forces Captain Megan Ashley to forbid further usage of the machine. First Commander Sy Race supports Ashley’s decision, but secretly starts exploiting the technology when he realizes he can create his own parallel worlds and use them to attain his personal goals.

The STARSHIP SCORPIUS SERIES is infused with aliens, AIs, ghosts, starships, high-tech, mysterious space phenomena, battle between good and evil, and the central question of what it means to be an individual within the collective—human and alien—in the galaxy of the 24th century.

The Shadowseeker by Victor KlossThe Shadowseeker by Victor Kloss

Spellswords, Wardens, Traders, Scholars, Diplomats – the five departments of the Royal Institute of Magic an apprentice must master to become a full member.

Ben Greenwood has no idea what to expect when he begins his apprenticeship, but he quickly realises his family history is going to make life difficult. On his very first day, a Shadowseeker – a mysterious and dangerous dark elf – surfaces, and Ben suspects the dark elves might be trying to capture him again in an effort to flush out his parents.

When Ben renews his own search for his parents, he soon discovers they are closing in on a piece of Queen Elizabeth’s legendary armour – the only weapon strong enough to defeat the dark elf king once and for all – but it is guarded by something even more deadly than a Shadowseeker.

A race against time ensues, with Ben desperate to warn his parents they’re walking into a death-trap, while somehow completing the first level of his apprenticeship and securing his place at the Royal Institute of Magic.

Through a Mirror Darkly by Kevin LuciaThrough a Mirror, Darkly by Kevin Lucia

There are a lot more truths in the books we read, than we’d like to admit.

What if a book delves into the lives of the very town you live in? Reveals to you some personal stories of people you know? Or thought you knew.

Bookstore owner Kevin Ellison faces this truth when a mysterious book shows up in Through a Mirror, Darkly by Kevin Lucia.

Through a Mirror, Darkly is a Supernatural Thriller collection masked as a novel. With elements of mystery, suspense, and otherworldly horror, Through a Mirror, Darkly successfully delves into the worlds of Lovecraft, Grant, and the mysterious Carcosa.

“Arcane Delights. Clifton Heights’ premier rare and used bookstore. In it, new owner Kevin Ellison has inherited far more than a family legacy, for inside are tales that will amaze, astound, thrill…and terrify.

An ancient evil thirsty for lost souls. A very different kind of taxi service with destinations not on any known map. Three coins that grant the bearer’s fondest wish, and a father whose crippling grief gives birth to something dark and hungry.

Every town harbors secrets. Kevin Ellison is about to discover those that lurk in the shadows of Clifton Heights.”
Through a Mirror, Darkly is a Supernatural Thriller collection masked as a novel. With elements of mystery, suspense, and otherworldly horror, Through a Mirror, Darkly successfully delves into the worlds of Lovecraft, Grant, and the mysterious Carcosa.

Ranger Rising by Salvador MercerRanger Rising by Salvador Mercer

A thousand years ago, on the world of Claire-Agon, a war raged between men and dragons, destroying both the creatures and the land’s many civilizations.

When his family is enslaved, Targon Terrel must battle the sinister Kesh wizards to save them, but a desperate group of refugees from his home country of Ulatha needs his help, too.

With the unexpected aid of a Druid of the Arnen, Targon discovers his destiny as a Ranger, but far from solving his problems, this discovery will soon reveal a personal betrayal. Targon’s fate brings him closer to long-buried truths about the ancient war between wizards and dragons — truths that could plunge his world into darkness forever.

Fallen by Christine PopeFallen by Christine Pope

When a group of rogue djinn attack the sanctuary of Taos, New Mexico, Jessica Monroe has no choice but to activate the device that was designed to destroy the elementals’ supernatural powers. With her lover Jace and the other friendly djinn in Taos doomed to a weakened half-life as long as the machine is active, Jessica and the other members of the community launch a desperate mission to retrieve the one man who might be able to help them — Miles Odekirk, the scientist in Los Alamos who invented the device in the first place.

The threat of retaliation by the Los Alamos survivors is only one of the perils facing Jessica, however. For Jace has his own enemies, and when an ancient rival returns to seek his own revenge, Jessica may have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save not only the man she loves, but everyone in the Taos community, human and djinn alike.

This is book 3 of The Djinn Wars.

McSorely's Evil Tea by Helen RyanMcSorely’s Evil Tea by Helen Ryan

Sky Swift lives happily in a cosy home with her mother. She enjoys the simpler things in life like drinking tea, munching biscuits, oh and sniffing everything. One day evil pays a visit. Her world has changed forever. Stalked by an evil tea bag and chased by an evil tea company that will stop at nothing to get her.
They want her for their wicked plan.
Sky is in trouble. She needs help.
But who can she turn to?

 

A Prospect of War by Ian SalesA Prospect of War by Ian Sales

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, but those who ignore history do so at their peril. The Empire was born in civil war and now, 1,300 years later, a fresh civil war is brewing. But who is the mysterious “Serpent” who threatens the Imperial Throne? And what can the renegade naval officer known only as the Admiral, and her single battlecruiser, do to combat him? Casimir Ormuz, a young man of low birth, may be the key. Whoever controls him is most likely to win—but he is determined to be his own master.

And then the historical origin of the Serpent’s conspiracy abruptly intrudes into the present… And the civil war becomes a battle for the Empire’s survival.

Set in a colourful and richly-detailed universe, An Age of Discord tells an epic story of derring-do and intrigue, while subverting space opera sensibilities and traditions.

Wake by Maia SeppWake by Maia Sepp

It’s 2020, and there’s an environmental crisis brewing in the depths of the Greenland ice sheet that’s a threat to everyone on the planet. But California girl Camilla Brightly is an expat just trying to make a buck, working for an offbeat PR firm. Their latest project? Everyone on staff has to get their “domestic helpmates” –anything from dishwashers to disco balls–networked via a new client’s “smart” home automation system. Camille doesn’t want Big Brother knowing that the only thing in her freezer is the makings for a vodka smoothie, but that’s not the worst of her problems.

A hacker intent on taking down one of her firm’s customers stumbles across a secret Camilla didn’t even know she was keeping, and her refrigerator turns out to be so smart it’s figured out how to stalk her. On top of that, there’s an environmental crisis brewing in the depths of a glacier halfway across the world that’s a threat to everyone on the planet. Global warming has reached a tipping point–and so has Camilla. She can’t stop the impending apocalypse but can she save herself?

With the help of an adorably nerdy co-worker and his polyamorous cousin, Camilla has to untangle herself from her less-than-harmonious home, foil a blackmailer, and face down an ecological disaster that might change life as she knows it forever. “Wake”–the prequel to “An Etiquette Guide to the End Times”–is a novel of climate change, unruly appliances, and finding a place to belong.

The Magician of Dustville by Hollis ShilohThe Magician of Dustville by Hollis Shiloh

Magic, danger, and love in the Old West

A small yet powerful magician moves to Dustville. He’s prickly about his height (or lack thereof) and extremely private about his past.

Magician meets sheriff, also private about his past and quite firmly in the closet. It is, after all, the only safe place to be in the little almost-town of Dustville.

Attraction blossoming between them promises pleasure, and possibly more. Can this become what they both truly want — a real relationship?

And can they survive cruel villains, dark pasts, and a grave magical danger that will test them both to their limits … or beyond?

Enchanted by Ella SummersEnchanted by Ella Summers

Born in the land of magic, Ariella has never cared for the nightmare world of technology beyond Elitia’s borders: airships, bombs, some dubious thing the humans call fusion energy. Her last encounter with technology very nearly killed her, and she’s not eager for a rematch. But then her friend Davin, the crown prince of Elitia, is abducted by agents of the Avan Empire. To save the man she secretly loves, she has to travel beyond Elitia to the Avan capital city. Her only hope lies with rogue mercenary Everett—and trying to fight technology with magic.

Everett, mercenary and rescue mission expert extraordinaire, knows he’s in for trouble as soon as he sees his latest client. Ariella is Elition; the enormous glowing sword she carries around won’t let him forget that, just as he can’t forget the last time he crossed paths with Elition magic. Ten of his friends died, victims of telekinetic sorcery, and Everett learned to be very wary of magic. But Ariella is offering him a substantial reward for his help—if they can save Davin before the Avans’ unknown endgame plays out.

Enchanted is the first book in the Sorcery and Science fantasy adventure series.

The Wanderer by Vincent TrigiliThe Wanderer by Vincent Trigili

Episode one of The Silverleaf Chronicles follows the life of Silverleaf, a dragonmaster who was born into a world without dragons, and doomed to die as a madman alone in the wilderness until a young woman enters his life, and a mysterious army marches across the land destroying all in its path.

The Silverleaf Chronicles is the first season in The Dragonmasters and is made up of seven episodes, each around 70 pages in length.

 

Godspeed by Michael TrinidadGodspeed by Michael Trinidad

The America of the late 21st century is a pale shadow of its former glory. Decades of war and the growing divide between the poor and the wealthy leaves all but the super-rich in the grips of the greatest depression since the 1930’s.

This is the world that sixteen-year-old Sharon Hall lives in. With her city teetering on the razor’s edge of dying, the dream of graduating and getting the diploma she needs to get a real job and save her family grows more distant with each passing day.

However, a team of television developers has other plans for her city. In exchange for around 140 high school students selected at random, her city will receive the millions of dollars it desperately needs to jump-start its broken economy. Before Sharon knows what the developers are really filming, she’s drafted into the production, known simply as “The Battle.”

But, “The Battle” is anything but simple. While touted as an ordinary wilderness survival show, the game is, in fact, a staged war that splits Sharon’s circle of friends in two and equips everyone involved with rifles, machine guns and other deadly weapons of modern warfare.

Of course, Sharon is going to survive. She has a family that needs her. But when the cost of her survival is the lives of her friends on the other team, it may be a more expensive price than she’s willing to pay.

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New German short story available – Neue Kurzgeschichte auf Deutsch erhältlich: Unter dem Galgen

I have a new release to announce. This one is another German language story, namely the translation of my short historical romance Hanging Day.

***

Ich habe ein neues e-Book anzukündigen, diesmal wieder eine neue Kurzgeschichte auf Deutsch. Es handelt sich dabei um Unter dem Galgen, die deutsche Übersetzung meiner historischen Liebesgeschichte Hanging Day.

Unter dem Galgen
Unter dem Galgen von Cora BuhlertLondon, 1751: Es ist Hinrichtungstag und neun verurteilte Verbrecher, sechs Männer und drei Frauen, sollen am berüchtigten dreistempligen Galgen von Tyburn sterben. Unter jenen, die gekommen sind, um die Gefangenen hängen zu sehen, ist auch Jack Blackstone, besser bekannt als Blackjack, der Straßenräuber.

Aber Jack ist an diesem Tag nicht nach Tyburn gekommen, um das Spektakel einer öffentlichen Hinrichtung zu begaffen. Denn unter denen, die heute gehängt werden sollen, ist auch Jacks große Liebe Eliza Colson, zum Tode verurteilt für ein Verbrechen, das sie nicht begangen hat.

Jack hat geschworen, Eliza vor dem Galgen zu retten oder bei dem Versuch zu sterben.

Mehr Informationen.
Länge: 5700 Worte
Preis: 0,99 EUR, USD oder GBP
Erhältlich bei Amazon Deutschland, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Niederlande, Amazon Frankreich, Amazon Italien, Amazon Spanien, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australien, Amazon Brasilien, Amazon Mexico, Amazon Japan, Amazon Indien, Kobo, Apple iTunes, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, BOL, Otto-Media, Donauland, buecher.de, buch.de, eBook.de, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, txtr, Inktera, Smashwords, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral und XinXii.

Diese Geschichte gibt es auch auf Englisch.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2015

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 April 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 science fiction, space opera, paranormal romance, post-apocalyptic fiction, YA fantasy, epic fantasy, time travel romance, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, horror, werewolves, wizards, fairytale princesses, monkey queens, pearl divers, heroic thieves, dwarves in love, alien invasions, conspiracies, ghosts, lots 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:

The Time Slip Girl by Elizabeth AndreThe Time Slip Girl by Elizabeth Andre

What if the woman you loved was more than a century away? Dara, a computer programmer from Chicago, is visiting London when she opens a door in an Edwardian house and slips into Edwardian England. Agnes, a beautiful London shop girl, takes in the bewildered 21st century American lesbian, but, as Dara begins to accept that she is stuck in 1908, she also begins to accept that she has feelings for Agnes that go beyond gratitude. And the longer Dara stays, the harder Agnes finds it to hide her growing love for the accidental time traveller from the future. Will they overcome grief and prejudice to acknowledge their true feelings for one another? Or will Dara be snatched back to the 21st century before they can express their love?

The Pearl Diver by S. Elliot BrandisThe Pearl Diver by S. Elliot Brandis

I’m Elsie, from the planet Caelum.

It’s 96% ocean, but that’s okay. Out of all six planets (or seven, if you believe the myths), we’re the only people with gills. I can breathe underwater for minutes at a time, discovering the secrets of the deep-sea. Diving is my first love.

But not everybody understands.

Each year they run a competition—a single black pearl is dropped into the ocean, and graduating students dive to find it. It sounds easy, but it’s not. The ocean is a dark and dangerous place, with caves, crevices, and flesh-eating creatures. Some years, not everybody survives.

It’s how my brother died.

My parents won’t let me compete. At times it seems like the whole island is against me. I don’t care. I will enroll, win, and gain the ultimate prize—a job diving on the head planet of the entire system. I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll fight for a better life, out there in the stars.

I will be the Pearl Diver.

Or die trying.

A Tiding of Magpies by Robert DahlenA Tiding of Magpies by Robert Dahlen

“One for sorrow, two for joy.”

When Jiao, a princess from Faerie’s Far Lands, comes to the Wonderland Diner and Tavern looking for help, it’s showtime for the Monkey Queen! Michiko and her best friend, Beth McGill, have to rescue the princess’ boyfriend from the minions of a scheming warlord, and then race against time and fend off goblins, ogres and monsters to fulfill a prophecy.

But Michiko has been hiding something from everyone, even Beth, and no secret is forever. And when that secret is revealed…

Everything will change for Michiko and Beth.

This is book 4 of the Monkey Queen series.

81hhX7nJQ1L._SL1500_Inoculated by Scott Michael Decker

Orphaned on a muddy planet and reared by giant paramecia, Lydia observes with inoculated indifference as the nearby Gaean Empire crowns its new, ugly Empress. Suddenly, her life goes haywire. Pursued across the galaxy, she tries to discover why her fellow Homo sapiens have taken such a sudden dislike to her, and why her adoptive Paramecia are going to such lengths to protect her.

 

 

The Initiative by Bruce FottlerThe Initiative: In Harm’s Way by Bruce Fottler

Sam Maxwell hates his bland, dead-end job at a company that’s little more than a labyrinth of cubicles. Seeking a better position, the Blanchard Corporation quickly extends him a surprisingly generous job offer. But something mysterious is lurking beneath the prestigious veneer of this multi-billion dollar technology giant. After accepting the offer, Sam’s life is surreptitiously evaluated by a board of directors who are anxious to recruit candidates for their clandestine consortium. To those already part of this consortium, it’s simply known as The Initiative. To Sam, it’s the start of a perilous venture to help protect one of the most closely guarded secrets in modern history.

Lady in Blue by Kimberly G. GiarrantanoThe Lady in Blue by Kimberly G. Giarrantano

The Lady in Blue stole a car and fled Ash.
Out on Devlin Road she emerged from a crash.
She wandered the woods with her head dripping blood.
Then drowned in the river in water and mud.

All her life criminology student Liz Bloom has heard this rhyme, meant to scare young campers. When she’s about to take on her first cold case, Liz learns the eerie song is about her great aunt Lana. Liz isn’t big on studying, but she does have one advantage most criminologists don’t — she can speak to the dead.

In 1955, Lana Bloom was an eighteen-year-old beauty with Hollywood dreams who fell in love with a stranger. When Lana died in a bloody car crash, all signs pointed to the mysterious man who was never seen again.

As Lana unravels the details surrounding her last week of life, the tale she weaves for Liz is one of desire, betrayal, and murder. If Lana can’t identify her killer, not only will a murderer escape punishment, but her ghostly form will cease to exist. And Liz will have failed the most important assignment of all – family.

Twisted Cogs by Malcolm HemmingsTwisted Cogs by Malcolm Hemmings

It is the turn of the 16th Century, and the world has entered a golden age of art, invention, and architecture. This renaissance of literature and learning in Europa is suddenly thrown into overdrive when a chosen few “Stormtouched” begin displaying supernatural abilities. Torn between the age’s burgeoning love of science and the dark promises of magic, Europa has become a powder-keg of clockwork and sorcery.

Elena Lucciano doesn’t care about increasing mankind’s knowledge or exploring the mysterious workings of magic. Even though she herself is Stormtouched, Elena doesn’t have high ambitions. All she wants is for her mother to be proud of her, for her teacher to accept her, and to become one of the best artists in all of Italoza, content to ignore all thoughts of science and magic.

Unfortunately for Elena, the tides of invention and magic are sometimes not content to ignore those who ignore them…

Emergence-2500x1563-Amazon-Smashwords-Kobo-AppleEmergence by Michael Patrick Hicks

Still recovering from the events that befell her in Los Angeles, Mesa Everitt is learning how to rebuild her life.

The murder of a memorialist enclave changes all of that and sets into motion a series of violence that forces her into hiding. Hunted by a squad of corporate mercenaries, with the lives of her friends and family in danger, Mesa has no one to turn to, but she holds a dark secret inside her skull. She has no knowledge of that secret, but it is worth killing for.

The ghosts of her haunted, forgotten past are about to emerge.

The thrilling sequel to Convergence!

The Sentience Sentence by Ian JaymesThe Sentience Sentence by Ian Jaymes

What if your housemate was trying to take over the world?

Chris Kelton decides to stick it out one last summer in his college town after graduating, and takes on a housemate for few months to help with the rent. Why? He’s not sure. His new boarder, faculty at the university, wasn’t what Chris was looking for, but he takes him in anyway. Before Chris knows it, he’s helping with research, neglecting his cat, making big lifestyle changes and ignoring his friends. Even though he knows his summer guest is strange, Chris doesn’t seem to mind the mystery. Yet true intentions can only stay hidden for so long, and Chris soon discovers that his guest is not who he says he is. Has Chris inadvertently hastened the end of the world as he knows it? What will Chris do next? What can he do?

The Sentience Sentence is approximately 13,500 words in length.

Thea's Tale by Lisa ManifoldThea’s Tale by Lisa Manifold

Does true love really conquer all? The old fairy tales say yes.

Thea doesn’t believe in magic, witches, or fairy tales. They are merely stories for children. She’s not even sure about love, until she meets – again – the man of her dreams. When he tells her, “We do not see one another as we are. Love changes us, and we see one another through the eyes of love”, she’s lost. There’s no one else for her. All that remains is for him to speak to her father, and they will be able to live happily ever after.

Except Thea discovers that’s not quite how things work. Her father has his own agenda. There are handsome suitors vying for her hand. And her crown. Being next in line to the throne also means she’s got enemies. One is a powerful witch who places a curse upon her. Unfortunately, it’s doesn’t affect only Thea.

With many forces conspiring against them, the question is no longer will Thea and her love live happily ever after. It’s will they live at all?

The Sisters of the Curse series follows the twelve dancing princesses who found themselves cursed, and what happens afterwards. Thea’s Tale is the story of the eldest.

Naya's Invasion by Mia MitnsNaya’s Invasion by Mia Mitns

Falling for a human wasn’t part of the plan.
A Stand Alone Story

#29831 a.k.a. Naya is a fierce commander of the quiet alien invasion. Her tasks were minimal. Remain invisible. Direct the invasion. Reach the quota of humans. See how the other humans react.

Falling for a human wasn’t part of the plan.

Will Naya be loyal to her heart or her family?

Second story in the “Fallen Invasion” Series, following Fallen.

The Outsiders by Joe MynhardtThe Outsiders, edited by Joe Mynhardt

A Suspense Thriller / Horror featuring the gated community of Priory, with its cult leader Charles Erich and his followers, including those who want to overthrow him, and those who’ll do anything for him. Is that which they worship the true evil, or does evil reside in them?
Inside Priory awaits a lot more than meets the eye. The people might seem friendly, but only because their enigmatic leader Charles Erich accepts nothing less.

The cottages within this gated community seem simple enough, and even though what lurks beneath them is more ancient than mankind itself, can anything be more evil than the people worshipping it?

If you dare follow this UK invasion of five prime authors as they each tell their own story of the people living behind Priory’s steel gates and high walls, you’ll quickly find yourself an outsider, as well.

Featuring stories by Stephen Bacon, James Everington, Gary Fry, V.H. Leslie, and Rosanne Rabinowitz.

Nightfall by Shiriluna NottNightfall by Shiriluna Nott and SaJa H.

Gibben Nemesio thought his life was over the day he received a conscription notice demanding he train to be a soldier. When he left his home for Silver City, he never expected he’d thwart a terrible plot to murder the King and become an overnight hero—and he definitely hadn’t expected to find love in the form of a handsome mage trainee named Joel.

Three years later, Gib has fought his way from lowborn farmer to hold the coveted position as understudy to the seneschal. Despite heightening tensions between the King and High Council and the rumors of impending war still terrorizing the people of Arden, Gib finds solace in the company of his wise mentor, loyal friends, and beloved companion.

But with the arrival of an ominous message from a powerful enemy in the north, Gib quickly realizes peace is fleeting in a world where chaos lurks in every shadow, and treacherous forces—from both outside the country and within—threaten to destroy everything he holds dear.

This is book 2 in the Chronicles of Arden series, following A Call to Arms.

Forging Change by Alix NovarraForging Change by Alix Novarra

Ostracized and shunned, due to a mysterious illness that has left him in constant pain and with a limp, Elin, crown prince of the dwarven kingdom Quatnu doesn’t believe he has much of a future left.

When he’s ordered to attend a celebration for the safe return of the Diamond Warband, all he wants to do is catch a glimpse of Valodym, Captain of the warband and the dwarf he still loves. Just to make sure that Valodym has returned safely from the mission that many considered suicidal.

Valodym though? Is not the kind of dwarf who gives up so easily, especially not when there’s something worth fighting for. Like Elin, their happiness, and their future.

Jadia by Greg PippinJadia by Greg Pippin

If you slept one day and woke up in a grand palace – to which you had never been before – only to find yourself lying in a coffin, what would you do? What if you woke up in the body of someone else than yourself, or even worse yet if that person, of whom you supposedly took the body, had been long dead? Jadia, Secret of Sagebrush, steep in paranormal adventure and speculative mystery, is a middle grade fantasy about a girl, who embarks on a quest to find out the truth behind her impaired memory, which will trap her within a mazelike riddle.

 

As The Ash Fell by A.J. PowersAs the Ash Fell by A.J. Powers

Life in the frozen wastelands of Texas is anything but easy, but for Clay Whitaker there is always more at stake than mere survival.

Yellowstone, along with two other Super Volcanoes, exploded with a tremendous fury following months of heightened seismic activity worldwide. The devastating eruptions released unmeasurable quantities of ash into the atmosphere. Coastlines were changed. New canyons were formed. Temperatures plummeted, dragging economies down, too. With no real way to sustain order, governments around the world began to fold, societies collapsed.

It’s been seven years since the ash rained down from the sky. Populations are thinning. Food is scarce. Despair overwhelming. Clay and his sister Megan have taken a handful of orphaned children into their home—a home soaring 16 stories into the sky. Providing for his adopted family is a 24/7 job for Clay. And with roughly six short months a year to gather enough food and supplies to last the long, brutal winter, Clay is forced to spend much of his time away from home—scavenging, hunting, and bartering.

Despite the vicious, unforgiving world he lives in, Clay has grown accustomed to his new life. That is, until he meets Kelsey Lambert.

Now, with winter rolling in earlier than ever, Clay must swiftly adapt to the changes in his life to ensure the safety of those he cares about.

The Wizard and the WoodThe Wizard and the Wood by Becca Price

“I’m dying.” Only a special kind of wizard could hear the cry that was carried by the whispery winds. Only a special kind of wizard could answer it.

He followed the cry to the Wide Wild Wood, a place that should have been filled with magic and wonder. But the dryad, the guardian of the Wide Wild Wood, was gone. Without its Guardian, The Wood had sunk into sadness. Its waters sat dark and stagnate, its creatures hid, its plants grew unhealthy. Not even a very special wizard could dispel the sadness by himself. But if the wildfolk came to his aid, he might just have a chance.

The Mages of Bennamore by Pauline M. RossThe Mages of Bennamore by Pauline M. Ross

A fragile peace. A clash of magic. A woman with secrets.

The war between Bennamore and the coastal region was over almost before it began. But the uniquely powerful mage who forged the alliance is dead, and the coastal folk are restless. Now the victors are bringing their spellcraft to the Port Holdings, unaware that the locals have their own less conspicuous magical ability.

Fen’s new job with the mages of Bennamore seems pleasant enough, but their powers threaten to expose her shady little habits. And then she can’t shake off the attentions of the flirtatious and uneducated guard, Mal. Nothing, it seems, will deter him.

The mysterious disappearance of a mage uncovers a dragon’s nest of deceit. Mal needs Fen’s help to figure it out, but she has divided loyalties and her past drags everyone into the middle of a violent conspiracy. Yet she may be the only one who can stand between the two countries, and stop them plunging back into a war which, this time, would destroy all of them.

The Sea Calls My Name by Hollis ShilohThe Sea Calls My Name by Hollis Shiloh

He lost his magic. How?

Returning to the bookstore by the sea, Daniel worries about how to tell his father that the money he saved to send his gifted son to magic school was a waste.

Daniel buries his secret under the pretense of coming home for a vacation. Then he meets Leaf Springfield, a beautiful young man who’s been systematically beaten down by his uncle.

Irresistibly drawn to one another, they learn they share more than a love for raw fish and the ocean—both have lost a mother, and their ties to the ocean may be more fantastic than they can imagine.

Passion explodes between the two. It terrifies Daniel how quickly his feelings for Leaf grow. There may be more here than meets the eye—about both of them.

My Sahil by Hollis ShilohMy Sahil by Hollis Shiloh

Grant Ralstead has loved Sahil Singh for years, working with him and being his friend but knowing all the time that the angry, fierce human is his mate.

Singh doesn’t believe in mates or love, and doesn’t trust anyone. But he worries every time Grant has to go away on a mission, endangering himself. Even though he pushes Ralstead away, his feelings about the wolf shifter are clearly complicated.

Is there any hope for a happily-ever-after between a wounded human and the wolf shifter who loves him?

A Ralstead and Singh short novella. Fits in the Shifters and Partners universe.

Relationship-centered, very low heat, some angst.

Approx. 19,000 words

911fUqS1pLL._SL1500_Thief of Pailtar by Robyn Wideman

Kiana is a thief.

But to be a thief in Pailtar you either join the Thieves’ Guild or pay them to work in the city. Kiana wants to join the Guild.

Kiana’s adventures take her to places she never dreamed of. Deadly animals, vicious monsters, and angry armies all stand between her and survival…Nobody said being a thief was easy!

 

Lifemaker by Dean F. WilsonLifemaker by Dean F. Wilson

The Regime is on the hunt, forcing the Resistance to take refuge aboard the Lifemaker, an advanced submarine that houses a special cargo: a handful of women who can still give birth to human children.

To evade the Regime’s own submersibles, all parties must work together, but tensions are high, and not everyone on board is looking out for the greater good.

As they descend into the deeps, they quickly learn that not all monsters work for the Regime.

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New Story Available: The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock

May has not been a good month for me writing-wise. Nonetheless, I did manage to publish a new story, a nice little sailor’s yarn with a dash of zombies or rather revenants.

So what are you waiting for? Make yourself a good hot mug of grog, our it into a Tiki mug if you have one (and I totally want a Tiki mug now), though any other mug will do as well, and settle down to visit the seaside town of Hallowind Cove, Harbour of the Weird, and meet one of the local tourist attractions, The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock.

The Revenant of Wrecker's Dock by Cora BuhlertStrange things keep happening in the permanently fog-shrouded seaside town of Hallowind Cove, earning it the nickname “Harbour of the Weird”.

When Paul comes Hallowind Cove, after inheriting an old house from an uncle he barely knew, he doesn’t put much stock in those stories. But then he finds himself hunted by an angry zombie, who is looking to avenge a century-old crime…

 
 
 

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, Oyster, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral, You Heart Books and XinXii.

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