It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.
So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some 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. This month, we have urban fantasy, science fantasy, fantasy mysteries, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, horror, non-fiction, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, unicorns, necromancers, bounty hunters, galactic peacekeepers, magical assassins, magical cats, code monkeys, crime-busting witches, post-apocalyptic chickens 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:
Free Station by Rachel Auckes:
The Galactic Peacekeepers are being hunted.
The tables have turned. Marshals are going missing.
Marshal Throttle Reyne and her Black Sheep are sent on a mission to investigate the recent surge in pirate attacks. But when the pirates unite and take over Free Station, the headquarters of the Galactic Peacekeepers, the Black Sheep must make a suicide run against the pirates and save the lives of their friends. If they fail, the system will belong to the pirates.
Bounty Hunter: Nothing to Nobody by Rachel Auckes:
A dark threat is creeping across the wastelands.
Bounty hunters are the closest thing to law enforcement across the wastelands, but most folks can’t tell the difference between the criminals and their chasers. Havoc Joe Ballast and his team at the Haft Agency are trying to change that by picking their own targets and going after the worst criminals. But that’s not working out so well for them.
They should’ve stuck to the rules.
Their first target, the bloodthirsty Red Dead gang, is terrorizing hapless refugees. Things go bad fast when Havoc and his friends are ambushed and forced to flee to the lawless Wilds. Stranded in deadly territory, the hunters must align with a secret rebel group to survive while turning the tables on their merciless enemies.
Join the bounty hunters as they fight for their lives in the post-apocalyptic wastelands. Their enemies may think they have won, but the hunters are just getting started.
Aloha Thrive by Ginger Booth:
An ex-cop who cannot die. A moon full of settlers who cannot thrive.
Mahina’s terraformers built a high-tech urban paradise. Then Earth flooded the colony with desperate refugees, cop Sass Collier among them.
The settlers who arrived with Sass died decades ago. Outside the citadel, their descendants die weak and young.
Sass fought a rebellion against the city once. She won concessions to give the settlers a chance at health. She paid with 20 years in prison.
Now she’s out, a reformed character. She assembles an oddball crew doing odd jobs. She intends to mind her own business – how to make a profit on the skyship Thrive.
But her fellow settlers are still failing.
While her business model careens toward circus acts, Sass dares to defy the city again, to solve Mahina’s failure to thrive.
Book of Dark Magic by Sara Bourgeois
When Richard Jordan is found dead in the woods outside of Coventry, the town’s reputation for being paranormal is put into the spotlight.
Richard wasn’t just murdered. The person who found him was shocked by what looked like a Satanic ritual murder.
Suddenly, the town’s regular tourism starts to dry up. In its place is a flood of weirdos and wannabe Satanists who are there to finish the ritual they believe Richard’s murder began.
Is this the apocalyptic scenario that Kinsley was prophesied to stop? Or, did someone want the town drunk dead and used a bunch of dark magical items to make it look paranormal?
What about the mysterious black book that shows up on Kinsley’s doorstep? Does it hold the key to solving the crime, or does it represent something far more sinister?
Come along as Kinsley and friends solve this crime one spell at a time!
The Pegasus Pulp Sampler by Cora Buhlert
Get an overview of the works of Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert and her one-woman small press Pegasus Pulp Publishing.
Space opera, military science fiction, alien invasions, hostile planets, sword and sorcery, pulp thrillers, men’s adventure, murder mysteries, cozy fantasy, historical romance – we have all that and more.
Enjoy twelve novellas, novelettes and short stories in five genres.
Contains the following stories:
•Baptism of Fire
•Valentine’s Day on Iago Prime
•The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg
•The Cork and the Bottle
•The Crawling Death
•Countdown to Death
•The Valley of the Man Vultures
•The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock
•The Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade
Mist and Magic by Lindsay Buroker:
As a freelance assassin, Val Thorvald leads a dangerous life.
She’s learned not to stay in the same place for long and not to get too attached to anything. For example, she would never consider adopting a pet.
But when she’s searching for a missing friend, she finds an abandoned silver tiger cub.
The magical feline is clearly from another realm, but Val has no idea which one or how to send it back. All she knows is that it’s the only witness to her friend’s kidnapping.
Val can kick the butts of ogres, trolls, and wizards, but she has no experience taking care of pets—certainly not magical tigers. And as she quickly learns, the cub has teeth like a chainsaw. Soon, everything from her apartment to her seat belts to the hair on her head is in danger.
But if Val can’t forge a bond with the cub, figure out what it knows, and find her missing friend, more than her belongings—and her hair—may be at risk.
Deadland Sentinel by J.N. Chaney and Ell Leigh Clarke:
With the trafficking ring obliterated, Jack turns his attention to wiping out the dregs of the criminal empire.
But when he arrives to take out a particular scumbag, he only finds the man’s corpse.
And he’s missing a shoe.
As the investigation begins, Jack surmises he has either stumbled into a conspiracy or there’s a serial killer on the loose. The team must mobilize to figure out exactly what is going on.
Corruption, kidnapping, and life as they know it all collide as the group comes up against deadly elements within the very organizations they were sworn to protect.
With their own lives in the balance, and the integrity of the Union government at stake, it’s a race against the clock to figure out who the players are and how to bring them down.
All without being taken out themselves.
Heartless by Dannika Dark:
“For you, I’ll wait an eternity.”
Despite the spoils of a solid relationship and an idyllic life at Keystone, Raven is itching for the thrill of another big case. Things begin to heat up when a dangerous assignment falls in her lap.
Searching for the mastermind behind an illegal fighting ring is no easy feat, but as the weeks roll by, Raven’s undercover job begins to take an unexpected emotional toll. It’s a deadly mission, and if she’s not careful, she could lose everything.
The Ark War by Chris Fox:
The Ark War Has Begun
War on a scale not seen in this sun-cycle has begun. Nox and his demonic army were thwarted at the Proto-Ark, but not before forging the tool that will hasten the destruction of the world. The Grey Men have a Primary Access Key, and are ready to bring their masters home. The Builders are coming.
Millions of deathless surround Jordan in the broken Ark of the Mother. The only thing standing between Lima and destruction is the last god anyone wants to trust…Irakesh. Jordan follows Sobek to Australia in search of allies, but what lurks there predates humanity.
Blair and Trevor spearhead a desperate gambit to alter time and save the Mother from her death at The First Ark. To do that they need powerful allies. The time has come to wake Jes’ka, so that she can train Liz in the ways of the Ka-Ken. If Blair and Trevor succeed, then ensuring Set doesn’t return to the present falls upon them.
But there is a spy in their midst. The Builders are far, far closer than anyone suspects.
Necrotech by Chris Fox:
The Unseen Fleets Come and Worlds Burn
The Unliving are implacable. Unreasonable. No one knows what they want, beyond souls, and bone for their war machines and ships. Now they’ve set their sights on the Inurans, and hey, I couldn’t wish an army of necromancers on a better target.
There’s just one problem.
I’m trapped on the Inuran Trade Moon, and the necromancers are attacking. Even if I can get the minister back to her ship we’ll still need to find a way to fight their flagship. That’s going to be tough to do without enough magic to power the Word of Xal.
If I pull it off I think I get a bonus though. Also, there’s that living thing.
324 Abercorn by Max Allan Gunnells
Brad Storm doesn’t believe in ghosts, but moving into the house at 324 Abercorn just may change his mind.
Best-selling author Bradley Storm finally has enough money to buy and restore his dream home. Despite 324 Abercorn’s reputation as one of the most haunted houses in America, Bradley isn’t worried. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Then strange things begin to happen. Objects no longer where he left them. Phantom noises heard from empty rooms. Shadows glimpsed from the corner of his eye.
Is his house truly haunted, or is there something more sinister happening on the property?
With the help of Bradley’s new boyfriend and a few friends who are just as intrigued with the seemingly inexplicable occurrences surrounding the infamous house, they set out to find the truth of what stalks the halls at 324 Abercorn.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Silent Cravings by Jess Haines and E. Blix:
What’s a vampire to do when the werewolf she craves is playing hard to bite?
Christoph needs to save a young girl from a vampire’s clutches. It’s his fault she’s there in the first place—and rescuing her is the only way he might get back into his alpha’s good graces.
Unfortunately for them both, he’s just not that good.
He and his packmate soon find themselves caught and magically “neutered” by enchanted collars so they can’t hurt anyone in the vampire’s entourage.
Just when Christoph thought it couldn’t get any worse, a mute vampire named Mouse decides to claim him as her boy-toy.
She has her own set of problems involving some lingering issues from her past. She hungers for Christoph, but can’t stand to see someone victimized or—even worse—afraid of her.
The two must learn how to live together (and deal with his new fashion accessory)—without driving the rest of the vampire’s household crazy in the process.
Wicked Games by Lily Harper Hart
Ivy Morgan knew she was in for a world of hurt when she was sentenced to community service. She had no idea just how bad things were going to be, though. On her first day of picking up trash along the roadside, one of her crew members stumbles over a body, and it happens to belong to someone she knows.
Sasha Carmichael was described as a “good girl” and nobody can figure out how she ended up alone in the woods, so close to a road and help, and abandoned. When Jack Harker and his partner start digging down, though, some dark possibilities come to the surface.
It seems Sasha had ties to more than one person on Ivy’s work crew, which means Shadow Lake’s favorite witch is working with a killer. Finding the guilty party is difficult, especially given the way her crew chief is watching her.
If Ivy sticks even one toe out of line, her community service could be extended. That means her wedding is on the brink and her honeymoon might be lost. Jack isn’t about to let either of those scenarios happen.
It’s going to take both of them working together to solve the crime, and even then nothing is guaranteed.
Hang on to your hats, because murder has come to Shadow Lake and this killer might not be done … by a long shot.
Zero by Simon Haynes:
Hal Spacejock loves to watch cargo ships taking off for distant star systems.
One day, he promises himself. One day I’ll leave this dump of a planet and explore the galaxy!
But Hal’s not supposed to watch the ships.
No, his job is to load cargo into them… and he’s not very good at it.
After a particularly bad mixup, Hal flees from his boss, certain he’ll get the sack.
Instead, he runs smack-bang into an adventure that will alter the course of his life.
This prequel covers events leading up to Hal 1: A Robot Named Clunk. You can read it before or after any of the main Hal Spacejock novels.
Brewing Up a Storm by Amanda M. Lee:
Storm season has hit Moonstone Bay and with it comes a whole lot of trouble.
Hadley Hunter thinks she’s ready for what’s to come, but she’s not. Before the storms can wreak havoc on her life, though, she has something even more frightening to deal with … lunch with her boyfriend Galen Blackwood’s mother.
Despite her best intentions, things don’t go as smoothly as Hadley envisioned. Before she has a chance to deal with that, though, the storms bring another surprise in the form of an unconscious woman on the beach and a yacht that keeps appearing (and then disappearing) with each subsequent storm.
Hadley can’t wrap her head around what’s happening, especially when news breaks regarding the identity of the individual who was found in front of the lighthouse. It seems she’s the wife of a very rich and powerful man … who disappeared a year before. In addition to that, the couple had two daughters with them at the time their boat fell off the map. What happened to them?
It’s a race against time for Hadley and her motley band of paranormal friends. They must find the yacht and uncover every horrible secret one family has managed to bury beneath a deep blue sea … and they have to do it with a monster on their tails.
At the heart of almost every family is love. At the heart of this one is despair. Somehow, Hadley will have to overcome her worst fears to become the best witch she possibly can.
Here’s hoping she’s up to the challenge.
A Blood Moon Swindle by W.H. Lock:
It’s the end of the world and it’s all Quinn’s fault.
Quinn is a talented conman and sorcerer, but even the best get caught. On his first day out of prison, Quinn was offered a job he should have refused. Quinn’s parole officer wanted him to steal a skull from a necromancer in Los Angeles.
It all went to downhill from there.
Quinn put together a team of the best criminals he knew. Together they stole the skull without getting caught. Only to be betrayed by one of the team and the parole officer. The pair was secretly working for the archangel Uriel in a plot to end the world.
Quinn and his team tried to stop the trio from getting the last artifact they needed to destroy the world, only to fail at the last moment because of Quinn’s antics.
Now Quinn is on the run from the FBI and his former team and he has made a literal deal with a devil.
If Quinn doesn’t save the world he’ll suffer an eternity of torment at the hands of Mamon, the Demon Prince of Greed. If he saves the world, all the debts he piled up will come due.
And those are the sort of debts that take an IOU.
Can Quinn save the world and escape certain death?
Ex Inferis by Nazri Noor:
Get ready for a hell of a ride.
Spoiled, sarcastic, and brutally self-obsessed, fledgling sorcerer Quilliam J. Abernathy has never worked a day in his life. And why should he? Being the half human son of a demon prince comes with its perks, among them a palatial lifestyle of luxury and excess.
But Quill’s comfort comes with a price. He is the Chosen of Asmodeus, destined to destroy the world and fated from birth to become the harbinger of hell. One last trial now stands in his way, the final obstacle to his ascent: a deadly game of devils…
Ex Inferis is the prequel to the Infernal Inheritance urban fantasy series, set several years before the events of the Darkling Mage and Sins of the Father books. Experience Quill’s rise to power as the Chosen of Asmodeus in an intense, action-filled supernatural suspense story filled with demons, devilry, and danger.
Of Flesh and Feathers by L.M. Pierce:
“A modern Watership Down meets The Walking Dead – but with a lot more feathers.”
A foul wind blows through the chicken coop. The flock’s caretaker no longer comes to collect Chickory’s eggs or bring her feed, and the stench of death is everywhere. Her friend Fayne is haunted by visions of danger, and by a prophecy of safety beyond the farthest horizon a chicken has ever known. With the help of their faithful farm dog, Chickory must convince her flock to follow her into a frightening world of disease and predators, both natural… and unnatural.
Their survival may depend on fateful premonitions, but in order to save the world of humans and birds, Chickory must discover the truth behind the prophecy and the sickness that turned their keepers into killers.
From the mind that brought you Trans Liberty Riot Brigade, L.M. Pierce presents:
Of Flesh and Feathers
Winds of Change by Christine Pope:
One surge of magical power could free her — or short-circuit her future.
Jake Wilcox thought he’d covered their tracks when he hid his love, weather witch Adara Grant, in a remote Wyoming town under the watchful guard of the Northern Arapahoe. He should have listened to his instincts that he was making a horrible mistake.
Now Addie’s gone, taken in the dead of night by the very nemesis they thought they’d eluded. Locked away so deep in a government testing facility, it’ll take more than magical luck to find her, much less get her out alive.
Addie is living her worst nightmare, and feeling every one of the three thousand miles between her and Jake. The temptation to use her wild gift to free herself is strong — but it’s not just her own life at stake. The facility is full of orphaned witches.
And one faint signal that could be glimmer of hope — or a sign that luck has run out for Addie, Jake, and everyone they love.
Road Seven by Keith Rosson
Mark Sandoval—resolutely arrogant, covered head to foot in precise geometric scarring, and still marginally famous after Hollywood made an Oscar-winner based off his memoir years before—has been strongly advised by his lawyer to leave the country following a drunken and potentially fatal hit and run. When a woman sends Sandoval grainy footage of what appears to be a unicorn, he quickly hires an assistant and the two head off to the woman’s farm in Hvíldarland, a tiny, remote island off the coast of Iceland. When they arrive on the island and discover that both a military base and the surrounding álagablettur, the nearby woods, are teeming with strangeness and secrets, they begin to realize that a supposed unicorn sighting is the least of their worries.
Fraternity by Alasdair Shaw:
The Indescribable Joy of Destruction has to choose between his human friends and his fellow Artificial Sentiences.
Legate Olivia Johnson struggles to adjust to life without her enhanced brain implants.
Decurion Anastasia Seivers rejoins the Legion to face her biggest challenge – command.
Together they are closing in on the war criminals in the Red Fleet. Will they succeed in bringing its commander to justice or will he evade their clutches once more?
Fraternity is the last in the trilogy of novels: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
Cosmic Lock by Aurora Springer:
Three sets of enemies and a wormhole to shut?
Follow the superpowered Griffins on a rollercoaster adventure where new threats counter each success.
Grand Masters Violet and Athanor Griffin return from beyond the Cosmic Rift with two shiploads of rescued children and escaped slaves, but their enemies have not been idle in their absence. Avalon is in flames and their baby son is missing. Finding him may be the easiest of their problems. They must unite the fractious Grand Masters, stop the bloodsucking Ixioths from enslaving sentients, and seal the cosmic rupture to prevent new incursions of the vindictive Nulls. The clock is ticking. They have twelve days to squash their enemies before their final venture into the alternate universe. Can they overcome the challenges and secure peace for the galaxy?
Deception by Glynn Stewart:
A new home on the edge of nowhere
A new hope for a peaceful future
An old enemy that won’t let go
Kira Demirci left her homeworld of Apollo pursued by assassins seeking revenge for her victories in the war against the Brisingr Kaiserreich. Now she has a new home and a new role: as the nova fighter wing commander aboard the mercenary carrier Conviction under Captain John Estanza.
Conviction is on retainer with the royal family of Redward, who encourage Kira and her pilots to make themselves a new home on the frontier planet. But there is a reason they want to tie the mercenary carrier’s crew more tightly to themselves and stormclouds are brewing on the horizon.
Those clouds break when a Redward warship goes missing on a standard patrol. Conviction and her fighters are sent out to find the destroyer—but instead they find a deadly plot by old enemies that will bring down the Syntactic Cluster in fire and war.
Unless Kira Demirci can do the impossible.
Lacey and Alex: The Dagger of Ill Repute by V.R. Tapscott
Talking Plants, Explosions, Gunfire, Mayhem,
Magic and a Hint of Romance.
Lacey & Alex, roommates in San Francisco, are a barista and a cook by day. By night though, Lacey is a part time private investigator and Alex talks to plants. And they talk back.
In this book, they get dragged into hunting for a lost dagger. Of course, it winds up being so much more than simply a lost dagger.
The pair spend a couple of action-filled weeks travelling from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Barstow to Vegas and all parts between in their hunt for the elusive artifact.
They meet up with loose cannon Stevie and step it up a notch with exploding cars and tension of a whole nother kind, as she makes it clear what she thinks of Lacey.
Olive from Jane Bond shows up with a little tiny insignificant part (heh) and Jane herself has a cameo.
Join Lacey & Alex and Stevie as they have the adventure of a lifetime! Talking plants, explosions, gunfire, mayhem, magic and a little bit of romance all enter the picture before the end, in this slightly humorous, slightly serious, and always fun mystery.
Child of Wrath by R.K. Thorne:
Commander Ellen Ryu, Lieutenant Kael Sidassian, and the crew of the starship Audacity barely escaped Capital with their lives. Then betrayal kicked down their door. Now they need to clean up the mess.
The one team member they thought was safe has disappeared—their benefactor Doug Simmons. Doug’s former classmate is also in danger, and he’d planned a mission for them to rescue her. And the crew is zeroing in on just what exactly Ellen’s nemesis Dr. Arakovic is planning as the clues sharpen into focus.
Will the team be able to put together the pieces of many different puzzles before it’s too late? Attacked on multiple fronts, Ellen and her crew will have to divide and conquer if they want to triumph.
Because cyborg super soldiers, awkward aliens, gang members with secrets, and an ex-girlfriend from the past are just a few of the problems on their plate.
The baby they’ve been hiding from the entire galaxy is also about to make herself known.
Code Monkey by A.E. Williams
THAT IS ONE ANGRY MONKEY!
A.E. Williams opines on more matters of concern to thinking people, philosophers and chicken farmers.
CODE MONKEY follows the trajectory set by ROCKET SURGEON, as A.E. Williams opens up a can of whoop-ass on science, technology, politics and religion. Yeah, all those uncomfortable subjects that polite people eschew during cocktail party banter are just gristle for the mill as far as Williams is concerned.
Rocket Surgeon was just the first stage! Code Monkey ramps it up with a second-stage-to-orbit collection of articles, essays and unpublished works that will leave you shocked, aghast and rolling on the floor laughing.
Follow irascible raconteur, voyeur and mental saboteur A.E. Williams down a whole slew of rabbit holes, conspiracy theories, discussions about the fallacies and truth of the challenges of our times! You’ll discover why Williams is one of the most sought-after essayists on the planet. (Sought after by aliens, Sasquatch, sea serpents and hackers, that is…)
Once more, A.E. takes you by the hand and shoves facts, figures and statistics up your…nose, until you are spitting mad at finding out you have been duped all this time by Big Brother, the Deep State, the Man, the Establishment and even your lying parents! (Oh, for the sake of Santa! How could you!)
Williams regales you with personal tales from the aerospace trenches. He shows why firmly held ‘scientific’ facts are just as suspect as ‘truths’ that have been debunked, time and again. You’ll be cramming your tinfoil hat past your ears as you are exposed to the grim secrets of how the world REALLY works!
And, as always, you’ll chuckle and chortle your way through page after page of outrageous stories, anecdotes and observations by the man Cleopatra* said was “So funny I laughed my asp off!”
Get your copy TODAY and join the ranks of computer-literate primates who have gone bananas over riots, COVID19 and all the troubles in the world that have you praying for the Second Coming, World War 3 or a long-overdue asteroid strike!
*Cleopatra Jones works as a hair stylist in Roanoke, Va.