It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”, this time with a special Halloween edition.
So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some September books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.
Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have a whole lot of horror this month (well, it is Halloween), but also epic fantasy, urban fantasy, portal fantasy, historical fantasy, Asian fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic science fiction, Cyberpunk, science fiction romance, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, vampires, witches, monsters, aliens, superheroes, nanotechnology, outlaw hackers, smart bullets, perilous hunts, killer viruses, operatic zombies, Greek gods, barbarian generals, druid genes, Singaporean monsters, a whole lot of LGBT characters and much more.
Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.
As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.
And now on to the books without further ado:
Bullet Holes by Cora Buhlert
Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.
Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.
When a seemingly routine courier job turns out to be a trap, Anjali is hit by a so-called smart bullet, a Republican weapon that slowly and inevitably kills its victims. Mikhail is given a choice by his former commander Brian Mayhew: Surrender or watch the woman he loves die in excruciating pain.
It is a choice between two equally horrifying fates. But maybe, there is a third option…
This is a story of 6200 words or approx. 22 print pages in the In Love and War series, but may be read as a standalone.
Perilous Hunt by Lindsay Buroker:
After failing to catch up with her daughter Jelena so many times, Alisa’s optimism is battered, but her determination has never waned. She, Leonidas, and their eclectic crew are hunting down a Starseer research station in the heart of the Kir Asteroid belt—Jelena’s supposed location. Alisa vows that she will find her daughter if she has to search a million asteroids to do so.
But Jelena and her close friend, Prince Thorian, have attracted the interest of many factions, and the Star Nomad isn’t the only ship on the hunt…
Night Conjurings: Tales of Terror by Harvey Click:
For fans of Clive Barker and Laird Barron… Ghosts, vampires, demons, serial killers, and other deadly denizens of the dark haunt this collection of chilling short stories by horror master Harvey Click.
*An unhappy and unloved boy summons a substitute mother–with sharp teeth.
*Two teenage boys learn it’s better to leave a spooky abandoned house alone.
*Can ghosts kill? Denise is about to find out the hard way.
*When her creative writing instructor offers to teach Kathy how to write a horror story, she finds herself trapped inside one.
*A man discovers he may be a killer, though he can’t remember the murders.
*A man with a terrible past, a wizard from the dark side of the moon, and a pitchfork perform a dark drama of murder and madness.
*A time traveler attempts to bring his dead fiancée back to life.
*Many people wish to be ageless, but what happens when an immortal woman begins to lose her mind?
*An artist literally draws a dead woman out of her grave.
*An elderly woman seeks to recover her forgotten past, but some things are better left forgotten.
*A petty swindler tries to buy good luck but ends up with the sort of luck nobody would want.
*And finally, a brief fable about a box of very sharp silence.
The Deep by Amanda Creiglow:
Anna was a psychologist before the world ended. Now, she’s just a member of the not-yet-dead, waiting out the days until sickness takes her. But when an indecipherable signal from the depths of the sea hints at hope, she goes along on a mission to discover its source. She’s supposed to keep the rest of the crew sane, and they’re supposed to keep her alive. But not everything goes as planned…
Will the secrets of the deep hold hope for the future of the human race? Anna’s adventure to discover the truth begins.
Monster Maelstrom – A Halloween Anthology, edited by George Donnelly
24 Extremely Short Halloween Stories for your Briefest Moments
From a Hillary Clinton stripper to mythical beast-women in the harsh Scandinavian tundra and from an unusual band of steadfast teddy bears to the last man in zombie-occupied Chicago, fill your briefest moments with pulse-pounding frights and off-beat chuckles with this collection of 24 flash fiction stories.
Commuting to work? Grabbing a quick coffee? Each story tells a complete tale in but a few short minutes with the added promise of a lifelong introduction to new indie writers.
You never know, you might just find your next favorite author.
Monster Maelstrom, the second anthology in the Flash Flood series, is a hand-picked selection of master works in humor, horror and fantasy themed for Halloween and guaranteed to keep you engaged.
Sign up now to get free copies of book 1, Bite-Sized Stories, and future flash fiction anthologies themed for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, May the 4th and Independence Day.
Eidolon by Carlyle Edmundson:
After Lance’s contact, Wyatt, is driven underground by the followers of a crusading hacker known only as Eidolon, Lance gets saddled with the unenviable task of digging up dirt on them—one made even less tolerable as he finds himself working alongside a clickbait blogger whose only concern is the next big controversy.
But as Lance gets to know Eidolon and what he stands for, he becomes less and less sure that he’s on the right side. Is Wyatt merely taking advantage of him, or could there really be a dark secret at the heart of Eidolon’s attempts to right the world?
Eidolon is the second book in the Lance Canela series, following The Arcology. It features a special bonus short, Thoughts as Gray as Ash.
Stolen Magic by Marina Finlayson:
Lexi Jardine may be a thief, but she’s not stupid. When a crooked fireshaper wants her to steal a ring from the boss of his order, she knows it’s a one-way ticket to sleeping with the fishes. Her answer is to drop off the face of the earth.
Safely hidden in a quiet seaside town, she just needs to keep her head down and pretend to be a regular human. Since her only magical ability is the power to control animals, that should be easy, right?
Then a new fireshaper shows up in town. He’s hot as hell but oddly hostile. With his suspicious eyes watching her every move, her safe haven starts feeling more like a trap. When her best friend disappears, Lexi knows the time for hiding is over. Though the fireshapers are more powerful, Lexi’s not one to abandon a friend—but it will take everything she’s got to save them both from the flames.
The Druid Gene by Jennifer Foehner Wells:
Darcy has a ten-thousand-year-old secret buried in her genetic code.
As a second year medical student, her life revolves around classes, studying, and her boyfriend Adam—until she treks through the desert, touches some mysterious stacked stones, and a network of glowing blue lines radiates under her skin.
Then she saw the spaceship. And it was coming for her.
She faces impossibly bad choices and a missing boyfriend.
Darcy struggles to accept her heritage and master her newfound powers as she navigates deception, betrayal, and danger in order to prevail in the galaxy’s most dangerous game—and survive to save Adam.
This new series also takes place in the Confluence Universe.
Repulsive by Brian W. Foster:
Zack Zurick loves superheroes. Lives them. Knows everything about them. And hey, he is a classic underdog and has an alliterative name, so maybe he could one day be chosen to join their ranks.
His life drastically changes when he becomes Repulsor. He’d hoped the fame and money would make Hayli see him as more than a friend. Instead, she can’t even look at him without literally getting sick. And the whole saving-the-world thing turns out to be harder than he thought, too. The villains have teamed up, and the heroes have a traitor in their midst. Zack must figure out who’s betraying them, defeat the bad guys, and, oh yeah, not get killed.
Right. Why not just go ahead and win the girl while he’s at it?
Maybe he could. If she weren’t dating the most popular, most famous, and most handsome superhero of them all. And if only he weren’t … Repulsive.
Mind Behind the Mind by Alexa Grave
A witch who believes one of her own kind could never kill…
In a world where people believe the crimson sun is a dead witch’s head and the witch hunter who killed her stalks the night sky, a witch who ventures outside of Haven risks losing her life. Tessa is one such witch. Like many of her kind, she hopes to help the people of Leera, not harm them, and she’s on her first mission to heal an ailing man named Jeremiah. But when she crosses paths with a witch hunter, instead of avoiding him like she knows she should, she succumbs to her desires and ends up in his bed.
The local Enforcers believe a witch is behind Jeremiah’s sickness, so they call Bastian to town. He’s a young witch hunter who normally has a knack for sniffing out witches. But when he runs into the striking Tessa, she scrambles his senses. He’s inexplicably drawn to her and abandons his usually cautious nature.
As Tessa and Bastian uncover clues about Jeremiah’s illness, Tessa has to face the possibility that another witch may have had a hand in the incident. And if Bastian learns she’s a witch, he may point his finger at her. Then her head will surely roll.
The Tyro by Carol Holland March:
Larreta, home of the dreamwalkers, is being torn apart.
Rifts are forming and swallowing everything in their path. People, structures, entire villages, are disappearing. No one knows where the rifts come from or how to stop them. And they are getting worse.
Leo, a Senior Dreamwalker, is recalled from Earth, where he fled rather than face his failures. His heightened ability to connect with the past is crucial to combat the rifts. He’s drafted to train a handsome new dreamwalker, Jesse: a young man whose own talents are part of the solution to stopping the destruction.
Together, the two must form a complicated passage through time and space, and they can only succeed with mutual trust. First, Leo needs to overcome his personal demons in order to make the necessary connection. But getting closer is not something he wants to do, in spite of his attraction to Jesse. However, the fate of more than one world rests on their success. And time is running out.
Extinction Cycle: From the Ashes by Michael Patrick Hicks:
In an effort to contain the spread of the Hemorrhage Virus, the United States government launched an attack on its nation’s cities. Hundreds of thousands of lives, and a number of major cities, were lost in Operation Reaper but the monsters created by the bioengineered virus remained.
A small team of Army Rangers have entered the ruins of Detroit in an effort to save whatever refugees they can, and stop whatever creatures they encounter. In an all-or-nothing gambit, the Rangers will soon discover that in the heart of the Motor City, evil rises from the ashes.
All Roads Lead to Hell by S. Hunter Nisbet and Artemis Fay:
Good intentions only go so far.
Regretting his decision to let Simon Flaherty leave Buchell without admitting his feelings, Mick Perry follows his ex-fighting student to Scioto City looking for closure.
What Mick finds is a teenager barely coping with his new life, adrift in a metropolis that pays lip service to progress while accepting bribes from all-powerful criminal syndicates.
Mick thinks he’s prepared to do anything to help Simon, but his own past is catching up, from the family that betrayed his beliefs to the war he can’t seem to stop fighting in his dreams. Not to mention the contracts he’s bent on securing with the city bosses. The right move forward has never been less clear.
When the local syndicates realize exactly who Simon’s father was, all bets are off for the future. Mick will have to choose—does he want Simon as a lover, or does he want to use the power of the Petrowski name?
Or do all roads lead to hell?
Beacon’s Hope by Jim Johnson:
When Rachel Farran accepted her calling to become a new Beacon, a reborn Fate and weaver of ley magics, she barely understood the world she was diving into. Lost souls, poltergeists, an ancient magical journal, and more await her in her journey, and she has to balance all of that with time for her girlfriend, training her magical ally Malcolm, and oh yeah, also trying to find a job to help make ends meet. It’s enough to make a girl go crazy!
Beacon’s Hope is the second book in Potomac Shadows, a paranormal fantasy series set in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
The Keeper of Pulau Purba by Brian J.W. Lee:
From an emerging writer in Singapore, a Military-Horror Novel just in time for a harrowing Halloween.
Alex Kee is an author. As he is working on his magnum opus, he is called up for military reservist duties. At 35 years old, this is far from the first time he is doing this – Except he has been transferred to a new branch of the military camped at Pulau Purba, a previously undeveloped island south of Singapore.
Unable to write, he finds solace instead in his old army buddies. The closest amongst them is Nur Aidah, who is voluntarily serving despite the law requiring only men to do so. While old wounds are reopened, new ones emerge:
Alex finds that there is something wrong with Pulau Purba. The soldiers stationed there are tense even by conscript standards. Anger boils in the hearts of many and violence is common. Meanwhile, a grotesque creature stalks Alex in his sleep. Although he suspects that he isn’t alone, no one talks about it.
A thunderstorm’s coming, and it will threaten everything that Alex holds dear.
Aizli: Between Worlds by Lindsay McKinney:
Tom Miller always thought of himself as being as average as they come. He had resigned himself to the job he hated and the little town he had grown up in. His stale life is turned on its head when his friend tells him of a strange stone box hidden in a nearby cave. In the process of attempting an amateur archaeological investigation, he finds a beautiful young woman in the sarcophagus. To his shock, she is very much alive. As she explains her story, Tom finds himself questioning everything he had ever dared to think about the universe. It isn’t long before he finds himself part of a painful choice between love and responsibility.
Aizli: Between Worlds is a novella with a length of approximately 30,000 words.
Four Barbarian Generals by T.A. Miles:
Han Quan’s dragon has been put to rest. The Empire beholds a moment of peace, a brief hour of victory, though at great cost.
The Imperial City has suffered significant damage from the dragon’s assault, the turmoil between the Five Kingdoms has escalated in the face of a continuing rise of dark forces now attributed as a curse upon the Song Dynasty, and Han Quan himself remains at large. Pursuit of the geomancer uncovers secrets connected to the persisting influence of the late Scholar General, and to the School of the Seven Mystics itself.
While the Phoenix continues to rise through Xu Liang, the dragons of the mortal plane begin to awaken. And as the southern kingdoms unite and rise against Xu Liang and his barbarian allies, the people of Ji continue to look to their ‘Silent Emperor’, some believing that he is favored by the gods, even above the Empress herself.
With Ying threatening to turn away from the Mandate and Du promising to join the southern rebellion, it seems that the heart of the Empire stands alone, unaware that the efforts of the Barbarian Generals will help determine the outcome of this battle between kingdoms.
War to the Knife by T.S. Paul:
War is on the horizon for the Galaxy. The Empire of Man has been thrust into civil war as the Cabal makes it’s presence known. Earth is on the rise as plans within plans come to fruition. Mars and the new Alliance intends to take the war to Earth directly and Athena Lee is smack-dab in the middle of it all. Again. Will she survive or will Earth and its clone army win as they reconquer the galaxy?
Poseidon and Cleito by Andrew J. Peters:
He became a god. Her story was forgotten.
From the shore of a frozen steppe, an outcast hunter embarks for the otherworld to ask his ancestors how to bring the mammoth back to the fields of sedge.
In a shining, island kingdom of wonders, the daughter of a high priest fights for her claim to wealth and power after her father is assassinated by the king.
Together they will build an empire recalled as an ancient legend and a cautionary tale. But how did he become a god while she became a mere footnote in history?
From the publisher: Poseidon & Cleito is the engrossing first book of a fantasy trilogy of myth and legend exploring the rise of the lost civilization of Atlantis. In the best traditions of an epic journey, one man’s struggle to discover his place in the world takes him across perilous seas into the epicenter of political strife in a foreign land. But a legend is not made of deeds alone. Fans of Guy Gavriel Kay’s historical fantasy and David Gemmell’s Troy series will enjoy this fantasy novel as it sets out to reimagine the inception of a Greek myth.
Determination by L.D. Silver:
Skye Denali promises herself that she’ll never enter The Highlands. But then her sister Bree is taken by a vampire, and her mother is overwhelmed by grief.
She has no choice. To help her family, Skye will have to face her fears. She’ll have to go into The Highlands – a town that’s governed by vampires. And once she crosses the border and leaves the human sector, she’ll lose her rights.
Any vampire can demand her blood and by law she can’t refuse.
She’ll have to avoid attracting attention, search the town, and free her sister. All without getting caught.
Because getting caught means an automatic death sentence, or worse…