Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 2020

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
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 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. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, science fantasy, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian noir, horror, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, ghouls, dragons, demon hunters, space mages, cyborgs, space marines, intergalactic outlaws, haunted asylums, haunted space stations, crime-busting witches 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:

Belle Vue by C.S. AlleyneBelle Vue by C.S. Alleyne:

Jealousy. Betrayal. Murder. And a hunger for vengeance that spans the centuries…

History student Alex Palmer is thrilled when his girlfriend, Claire Ryan, buys an apartment in Belle Vue Manor, formerly a Victorian lunatic asylum.

But as Alex begins to discover the dark truth about the asylum’s past, he, Claire, and their friend Marianne find themselves on a nightmarish journey. Each will face the deadly consequences of the evil that began with the construction of the first Belle Vue Manor by an aristocratic French émigré in 1789, as well as the cruelty and satanic practices that continued when it became an asylum for the insane.

As the two strands–past and present–unfold, Alex uncovers a supernatural mystery where revenge is paramount and innocence irrelevant–without being aware of the price he, and those around him, will pay.

Indomitable by Jonathan P. BrazeeIndomitable by Jonathan P. Brazee:

Beth “Fire Ant” Dalisay is the Navy’s top ace.

But the alien Crystals really don’t care. They intend on wiping out humanity no matter who stands in their way.

Pulled from her Wasp fighter, the Navy assigns Beth as a scout pilot with a mission to find the Crystal’s home world. But in an underpowered Mosquito scout and no weapons with which to defend herself, if she finds their home system, can she possibly survive long enough to report back to Navy HQ?

In a final clash between humanity and the Crystals, can one pilot make a difference? Can humanity survive?

Legacy of Vale by Rhett C. BrunoLegacy of Vale by Rhett C. Bruno:

War threatens to destroy the Circuit once more…

After arriving on Ceres Prime, ADIM, is hesitant to help the Ceresians. Their hatred for his creator will never wane, and he starts to understand the danger all of Cassius’ many rivals pose. How can he keep him safe?

When Sage Volus finds herself a captive of Cassius Vale, she begins to struggle with her role in the coming war, and what exactly it means to be an executor. The removal of her cybernetic implant reveals emotions she thought she’d buried too deep to be found. She must make a decision on who she truly wants to serve.

After breaking free of the solar-ark Amerigo and certain death, Talon Rayne finds himself in unusual company. His quests to hold his daughter again will bring him to places he never thought he’d go?into the very arms of his people’s most hated foe.

As the battle grows ever closer, threatening the all-out war that could annihilate millions, these four must determine what part they intend to play, who they will align themselves with, and what it means to be human in a solar system where that means less and less.

Storm Forged by Lindsay BurokerStorm Forged by Lindsay Buroker:

Moving into a rundown Victorian house with a vampire living in the basement isn’t as bad as I thought, but things go from weird to weirder when a badly injured gnome collapses in my back yard.

The surprising part? It’s my friend Nin’s long-lost grandfather.

Since he’s unconscious, we can’t figure out who’s chasing him, or where he’s been all these years, but if we can’t help him, he’ll die.

To make matters worse, there’s a new dragon in town. A female dragon. Everyone knows females are more dangerous than the males, and this one takes an instant dislike to me. It seems that she wants to date my mate, Zav, and has his mother’s approval.

If I can’t avoid her wrath and find a way to cure the gnome, Nin’s going to lose her grandfather, and I’m going to end up deader than the vampire in the basement.

The Renegade by J.N. ChaneyThe Renegade by J.N. Chaney:

Jace Hughes is a Renegade.

That means taking jobs and not asking questions, whether that involves smuggling, transporting runaways, or performing other, far less wholesome work. Whatever the situation, Jace is willing to do what it takes to achieve his dream and live the life he’s always wanted.

That is, until he comes face to face with an item of unprecedented value—something that could give him everything he needs to pay off his debt and be free.

The only problem is that selling it would also shift the balance of power between the two largest empires in the galaxy.
And spark another intergalactic war.

Unfortunately for Jace, he won’t have long to decide. Renegades, assassins, and government cronies are after the item, too, and unlike Jace, they won’t hesitate to kill.

Marauder's Compass by M.D. CooperMarauder’s Compass by M.D. Cooper:

Jax and the crew of the Lightning Runner have narrowly escaped Sinclair and her DSA fleet, but their troubles are far from over.

The flight from Iydra Station has depleted their antimatter reserves. Without resupply, they’ll have limited options should they run into trouble again—which they fully intend to do. With numerous parties hunting for their ship, Jax must choose their haven carefully.

Penny knows of a secret city within a dwarf planet where they take refuge. However, it doesn’t take long to discover that their enemies have yet again increased in number. With several of the crew captured and the ship trapped, their options are few and drastic.

The mission to infiltrate the Paragonian outpost is in dire jeopardy and Jax must consider making the ultimate sacrifice in order to achieve victory.

And if he fails, all Aquilia will be swept up in war.

The Invisible by Seb DoubinskyThe Invisible by Seb Doubinsky:

It’s election time in New Babylon, and President Maggie Delgado is running for re-election but is threatened by the charismatic populist Ted Rust. Newly appointed City Commissioner Georg Ratner is given the priority task to fight the recent invasion of Synth in the streets of the capital, a powerful hallucinogen drug with a mysterious origin. When his old colleague asks him for help on another case and gets murdered, things become more and more complicated, and his official neutrality becomes a burden in the political intrigue he his gradually sucked into. Supported by Laura, his trustful life partner and the Egyptian goddess Nut, Ratner decides to fight for what he believes in, no matter the cost.

High Protector by Rachel FordHigh Protector by Rachel Ford:

Kaladorn. Slave born.

Rohana knew her destiny. She’d been born to serve her king, to live and die at his command. She hadn’t questioned when he ordered his armies into the frozen North, to fight a queen who threatened the South.

Except, Queen Ilaria has never been a threat to their nation. On a frozen field of battle, Rohana learns the truth. And she has one moment to make a decision.

One moment, for a slave to rewrite the fate of two empires.

This novel features characters from the first two novels, and introduces new characters. It is a stand-alone novel.

Blood Ties by K. GormanBlood Ties by K. Gorman:

Together again, and ready to bring the system to its knees.

Karin Makos has spent the last two months running from one thing or another—but all that’s about to change. Her sister’s back, and Nomiki’s ready to grab their problems by the horns, throw them on their backs, and rip into them with her modified carbon steel blades.

With the backing of the Fallon Empire and a promising new lead, the two are determined to reach down into the mystery of their past and pull out its secrets, once and for all.

But they aren’t the only ones on the move. And looking may uncover more than even they could have bargained for.

The Eurynome Code space Opera series continued with this unforgettable third installment. Grab your copy today!

Curse a Brew Streak by Lily Harper HartCurse a Brew Streak by Lily Harper Hart:

Ofelia Archer is living the dream … or as close as seemingly possible.

She owns her own business, her father seems to be on an even keel, and her new relationship with Detective Zacharias Sully is cruising right along. Everything changes in an instant, though, when screams from the street lead to zombies running amok through the French Quarter.

Ofelia is a tough witch who takes no guff but even she is at a loss. Who is creating the zombies? Where are they coming from? They’re not rising from the dead as much as being bumped off and used as an invading army.

Sully wants to take control of the investigation but the higher-ups in the New Orleans Police Department assign the case to a new detective, much to his chagrin. That detective is keen to find answers. Unfortunately, he’s looking hard at Ofelia to find them.

Sully and Ofelia are going to have to work together to find answers. Their adventure will lead them from the French Quarter to the Garden District and beyond. Even then, when things start coalescing, gnashing teeth won’t be the worst of their problems.

Months ago they were two factions working on their own. Now they’re together, and stronger for it.

Not all the magic in the Big Easy is good. Some is evil … and the two sides are about to collide.

Permutation by Patty JansenPermutation by Patty Jansen:

En route to a job in the asteroid belt, the transport ship that Jonathan and Gaby are travelling on is required to give assistance to a space station in trouble.

Astoria Station stopped responding to everything except automated messages. Jonathan and Gaby, familiar with disease and habitat collapse, offer to help.

But not even they are prepared for what they find, or the efforts by some to sweep it under the carpet.

 

Magitak by B.R. KingsolverMagitek by B.R. Kingsolver:

Hunter James was my grandfather.

He wanted to end the cycle of war, but instead he broke the world. Demons, vampires, and monsters poured through the Rift into our dimension. The Magi emerged from humanity’s shadows and fought the Rifters, eventually forging an uneasy peace.

For most humans, demons, and Fae, magik and technology are totally incompatible. But some mages are able to manipulate mechanical and electrical devices. They are called magiteks.

My name is Danica James. I’m a magitek and a cop with the Arcane Division. My job is to protect humanity from the monsters. Sometimes the monsters are human.

Freaky Seas by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Seas by Amanda M. Lee:

Mystic Caravan Circus is heading to Charleston and – per usual – trouble is not far behind.

For Poet Parker, who is grappling with saying goodbye to her assistant, she’s looking forward to quiet nights on the beach and quality time with her boyfriend. All that changes when the sea starts giving up its dead … and they appear to be hungry.

Under normal circumstances, zombies wouldn’t be a big deal. They’re slow, lumbering, and easy to dispatch. This infestation is different … and they appear to be controlled by a strange creature long since thought extinct.

Gorgons were believed to be things of myth and legend but one is haunting the beaches of Charleston … in close proximity to the circus and a writer’s retreat. In fact, the nutty individuals spouting fantastical stories and trying to one-up one another in the bluff house overlooking the circus grounds are all suspects because one of them is controlling the gorgon. Finding the individual responsible for causing endless upheaval and death is no easy task, though.

Poet is a fighter but this battle is all-encompassing.

Not every monster is obvious. Sometimes they hide behind human faces.

This time Poet is going to have to wade through layers of darkness to find the light. Surviving to see the final sunrise will take them all working together … and even then they might not be strong enough to claim victory.

Darkness is coming. Will anyone survive to see the dawn?

Sanctum by Hannah McBrideSanctum by Hannah McBride:

A survivor on the run

After refusing the laws of her sadistic pack, Skye Markham barely escapes with her life, seeking sanctuary with the feared Blackwater pack. Hunted by her former Alpha and his soldiers, she’s determined to create a life even though she knows they will come for her.

An alpha with a pack to protect

As the next alpha in line, Remy Holt has spent years guarding the Blackwater pack and his family from those who seek to seize control and destroy them. The last thing he needs or wants is Skye Markham and the dangers she brings with her adding to the stress on his pack, but his wolf has a different opinion. He wants her, and after one moment that shouldn’t have been possible, he knows he’ll never be able to let her go.

A bond unlike any other

Skye thought she was finally safe, but as her bond with Remy strengthens, the shifter world starts to break apart at the seams. Missing shifters, a dying population, and pack wars are all causing their sanctuary to crumble around them, and Skye is trapped in the middle of it all. Someone is out to destroy the pack and if they succeed, there will bring down everything Remy has sought to protect and for Skye… maybe there is no such thing as a sanctuary.

Ghouls and Alchemy by Amy B. NixonGhouls and Alchemy by Amy B. Nixon:

My name is Nathan Holloway. I was a US Marine before they transformed me into an Amethyst Hunter.

They are Nexus, a covert organization specializing in extracting dead soldiers from the battlefield, reviving them through alchemy and using them for wet work.

Hunting witches and sorcerers, vampires, fae, shapeshifters and magical lawbreakers? That’s the easy part. But being immortal? Well, that’s a different question.

For me, immortality comes with a hefty price tag.

My Materia Prima – the quintessence of every living organism – is growing feeble. Nexus’ remedies have turned me into an addicted junkie. My sardonic cynicisms are rewarding me with more enemies than allies. And the mysterious Alchemist, who gave me a second chance at life, has condemned my soul to the fiery pits of hell.

Things can’t get worse, can they? They can, and they just did.

One of our agents has gone rogue and stolen a supersonic combat aircraft. The country’s under a ghoul invasion. The ghoul-breeding Sa’alin queens are nowhere to be found. And in the midst of it all, we discovered something cunning, vile and even more lethal than the ghouls. Something we thought was erased from existence centuries ago – a necromancer.

Join Nathan as his journey weaves him into a web of ancient alchemy, high-tech science fiction and mythological fantasy.

Reckless Pursuit by Safari SpellReckless Pursuit by Safari Spell:

A dragon is no match for love…

As the handsome and charismatic son of a powerful fallen angel, dragon shifter Spencer Kaden has spent centuries seeking pleasure and little else.

So when his father sends him to the backwoods city of Cypress, Georgia, as a sentry for the Grigori, he plans to do what he always does until it’s time to leave – divide, conquer, repeat. But that was before falling in love with his beautiful yet troubled coworker, Talor Gardin.

Grief-stricken from debilitating loss, Talor suffers from panic attacks and deepening depression. She’s in no place to be pursued. But when she begins to spiral, Spencer finds himself torn between who he is and who he wants to be.

Desperate to save her, he must decide if he will risk everything he holds dear by daring to ask a favor of the siren, the powerful and dangerous sworn enemy of the Grigori…or if the price of love is too great a cost.

The Service of Mars by Glynn StewartThe Service of Mars by Glynn Stewart:

Secrets have been unleashed
Worlds have fallen
A Mage-King has died
But the war rages on!

Secrets and warships combined to turn the tide of the Siege of Legatus, delivering the capital of the Republic of Faith and Reason into the hands of their enemies. With Damien Montgomery called away to lead the entire Protectorate of Mars, fighting the war falls to Mage-Admiral Jane Alexander and Mage-Lieutenant Roslyn Chambers.

As the Martian Second Fleet moves against the remaining Republic worlds, Captain Kelly LaMonte’s covert stealth ship sweeps the worlds away from the conflict, searching for the Republic’s government-in-hiding and a chance to end the bloody conflict.

But this war began in the shadows, and the secrets hidden in those shadows threaten to turn the tide of the war once more—and bring it to the heart of the Protectorate!

Cursed Wolf by Brogan ThomasCursed Wolf by Brogan Thomas:

For a shifter…

…being stuck in wolf form is torture.

The moment I shifted; my life changed.

After witnessing a traumatic event at a young age, nine-year-old Forrest shifted into her wolf form – and was unable to shift back. Years later and suffering at the hands of her malicious step-brothers, she stubbornly clings to the hope that she’ll turn back into the girl she once was.

But when her magic returns at the moment she needs it most, Forrest is thrust back into the world of humans. There’s only one problem. Her pack is out to kill her.

Struggling to learn how to walk and talk again, Forrest finds herself on the run from the cold-blooded shifter council. But hidden deep within her human form lies a secret – a powerful magic that has the potential to set her free.

If only she can stay alive long enough to master it…

Invasion by James David VictorInvasion by James David Victor:

Undercover behind enemy lines and there’s only one person he can trust. Maybe.

The Skarak have invaded with a force certain to overwhelm all of humanities defenses. To make matters worse, Boyd’s cover in the Faction is on the verge of being blown. Even if he can escape, his chances of survival are thin. Can he trust an enemy who just might turn out to be more of a friend than he ever thought possible? Or will it even matter as the Skarak look to destroy both the Union and the Faction?

Invasion is the third book in the Blue Star Marines series which follows a young man who will have to push his hatreds aside and come to the aid of all humanity.

Download Invasion and see if humanity can overcome itself and survive in the vast darkness of space!

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for August 2020


Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of crime 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.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, WWII mysteries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, dystopian noir, police procedurals, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, romantic suspense, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, FBI agents, prosecutors, kidnappers, assassins, amnesiacs, serial killers, perfect murders, arson, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting bakers, zombies and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime 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:

A Cozy Little Murder by Beth ByersA Cozy Little Murder by Beth Byers:

September 1926.

Vi and Jack have settled into London for the fall, and they want nothing more than an excess of cocoa, coffee, good books, and time with friends.

They should, however, know better. Jack is brought into consult on a case in coziest of houses. Only all is not what it seems and no one is surprised when they find yet another body.

 

Never Surrender by Stacy ClaflinNever Surrender by Stacy Claflin:

Alex Mercer thought his worst days were behind him.

Instead, his life is falling apart from the seams. Again. While his marriage is on the brink of divorce, his daughter is once more the target of a potential abductor. Alex will do whatever it takes to keep her safe while working to get to the bottom of the infamous kidnapping ring once and for all.

He believes one of his superiors in the police department to be involved with the criminal mastermind, and he will do anything to prove it. But if his suspicions prove wrong, it will end his career. Alex must weed out friend from foe before his daughter disappears.

His focus is being pulled in so many directions, something is bound to fall through the cracks—and soon. If he can’t keep both his family and job intact, he will lose everything. And this time, there will be no salvaging any of it.

Pancakes and Parrots by Leena CloverPancakes and Parrots by Leena Clover:

Reunions Can Be Murder

The town of Pelican Cove is abuzz with gossip. The infamous class of 1988 is back home for their 30th reunion. It’s a time to indulge in nostalgia and take a trip down memory lane.

Everyone is eagerly awaiting the big event, the grand unveiling of the time capsule. But the gala dinner takes a morbid turn when a man is shot dead.

Petitioned by the grieving widow, local cafe owner Jenny King takes on the belligerent reunion delegates. As long buried secrets begin to surface, Jenny’s sleuthing abilities will be tested.

Meanwhile, the town folk are busy raising funds to help a terminally ill child.

Can Jenny battle a personal crisis, help a devastated mother and navigate petty high school rivalries while she hunts for the true killer?

If you like cozy mysteries with strong heroines, unexpected twists, yummy food and friendships that last a lifetime, you will love Pancakes and Parrots.

Run For Your Life by M.A. ComleyRun For Your Life by M.A. Comley:

Time doesn’t heal all wounds.

Five years ago they committed the most despicable crime imaginable.

They thought they were safe…but someone knows.

Has the hunter become the hunted?

DI Sara Ramsey and her team are tasked with solving one of their most complex cases to date – an elusive killer intent on committing the perfect murder.

What Lies Beneath by Adam CroftWhat Lies Beneath by Adam Croft:

A peaceful Sunday morning in Rutland is shattered when a dead body is discovered on the rocks at Normanton Church.

The victim has been laid out in a crucifixion pose, facing the altar. DI Caroline Hills is certain there’s a religious connection — one which threatens the tranquility of life in the area.

The killer has gone to extraordinary lengths to make the symbolism clear. And the deaths will continue until Caroline and DS Dexter Antoine uncover the truth behind the dark secret — and what lies beneath.

Gators and Garters by Jana DeleonGators and Garters by Jana Deleon:

‘Til death do us part?

Ida Belle, Fortune, and Gertie are gearing up for the big day—Ida Belle’s wedding to Walter—but when the caterer goes missing just a week before the big day, it puts a huge black mark on the joyous celebration. Molly Broussard is no stranger to being in the limelight, so when the former cage fighter turned in her boxing gloves for pots and pans, everyone who knew her was surprised…until they ate her food.

From all appearances, Molly took her boat out that day and simply never returned. An extensive search of the bayous finally produces the boat, but there is no sign of Molly. With no evidence of foul play, Sinful residents are ready to conclude that this is simply another tragic and all-too-common accident.

Nickel Bordelon spent half of his time in trouble and the other half paying for it. But one thing he knows for certain—Molly was murdered. When he asks Fortune to take the case, she isn’t sure there’s anything to find, but his emotional plea has her agreeing to look into it. As Swamp Team 3 begin their investigation, they find more layers to Molly’s disappearance than in Ida Belle’s wedding cake.

The Invisible by Seb DoubinskyThe Invisible by Seb Doubinsky:

It’s election time in New Babylon, and President Maggie Delgado is running for re-election but is threatened by the charismatic populist Ted Rust. Newly appointed City Commissioner Georg Ratner is given the priority task to fight the recent invasion of Synth in the streets of the capital, a powerful hallucinogen drug with a mysterious origin. When his old colleague asks him for help on another case and gets murdered, things become more and more complicated, and his official neutrality becomes a burden in the political intrigue he his gradually sucked into. Supported by Laura, his trustful life partner and the Egyptian goddess Nut, Ratner decides to fight for what he believes in, no matter the cost.

Listed Dead by Jan EdwardsListed Dead by Jan Edwards:

November 1940. The Battle of Britain has only just ended and the horror of the Blitz is reaching its height.

Two deaths in rapid succession on the Sussex Downs brings Bunch Courtney and Chief Inspector Wright together once more. What could possibly link a fatal auto accident with the corpse in a derelict shepherd’s hut? The only clue the pair have is a handwritten list of the members of a supper club that meets at London’s Café de Paris. Two of those on that list are now dead and the race is on to solve the mystery before any more end up on the mortuary slab.

Unraveled by Jordan EverettUnraveled by Jordan Everett:

Wanted: Effective killer. No experience necessary.

Kaden Rivera expected another dull shift at the restaurant. Instead, the 23-year-old left wearing her own blood.

An armed robber had attacked. She surprised everyone, including herself, by knocking him out. An impressed businessman offers a gig as an assassin, training included. The side job was supposed to be simple.

And it was, until her colleagues start dying. The boss is useless, and police aren’t an option. Her only help is her best friend and a new AI mouse that he dubbed her “assistant.” While still completing assignments, she plummets deeper into the criminal underworld—without her consent.

Her only choice is to claw her way out.

Curse a Brew Streak by Lily Harper HartCurse a Brew Streak by Lily Harper Hart:

Ofelia Archer is living the dream … or as close as seemingly possible.

She owns her own business, her father seems to be on an even keel, and her new relationship with Detective Zacharias Sully is cruising right along. Everything changes in an instant, though, when screams from the street lead to zombies running amok through the French Quarter.

Ofelia is a tough witch who takes no guff but even she is at a loss. Who is creating the zombies? Where are they coming from? They’re not rising from the dead as much as being bumped off and used as an invading army.

Sully wants to take control of the investigation but the higher-ups in the New Orleans Police Department assign the case to a new detective, much to his chagrin. That detective is keen to find answers. Unfortunately, he’s looking hard at Ofelia to find them.

Sully and Ofelia are going to have to work together to find answers. Their adventure will lead them from the French Quarter to the Garden District and beyond. Even then, when things start coalescing, gnashing teeth won’t be the worst of their problems.

Months ago they were two factions working on their own. Now they’re together, and stronger for it.

Not all the magic in the Big Easy is good. Some is evil … and the two sides are about to collide.

Price of Justice by Robin JamesPrice of Justice by Robin James:

Vicious felons are going free. Can one determined attorney stop them from slaughtering more innocents?

Sharp small-town prosecutor Mara Brent has a heart as big as it is tough. Smack in the middle of a scandal surrounding her corrupt ex-boss, she works relentlessly to put things back in order. But when past gross negligence threatens to free convicted criminals, Mara fears her tight-knit community will be plagued by sadistic serial killers.

Preparing for the legal fight of her career, Mara battles to keep a violent pair of brothers locked up. But when the bloodthirsty duo is suddenly released on bail, she finds herself in a race against time to stop their inevitable killing spree.

Will Mara put the brutal murderers back behind bars before she has innocent blood on her hands?

The Veil of Vengeance by Nora KaneThe Veil of Vengeance by Nora Kane:

The body of the curator of the museum is found in the museum. The only thing missing is a portrait, seemingly of barely any value. The most intriguing thing was the way the body was arranged, with nails shaped in crescent-shaped and a circle of salt around the body. Was it something to do with the occult?

But the big question was why would someone steal the almost worthless portrait when the museum was filled with priceless relics and artifacts.

But the big question was why would someone steal the almost worthless portrait when the museum was filled with priceless relics and artifacts.

Follow Salem Montgomery as she treads the dangerous paths in the sleepy town of Wolverine harbor to track the killer down.

Freaky Seas by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Seas by Amanda M. Lee:

Mystic Caravan Circus is heading to Charleston and – per usual – trouble is not far behind.

For Poet Parker, who is grappling with saying goodbye to her assistant, she’s looking forward to quiet nights on the beach and quality time with her boyfriend. All that changes when the sea starts giving up its dead … and they appear to be hungry.

Under normal circumstances, zombies wouldn’t be a big deal. They’re slow, lumbering, and easy to dispatch. This infestation is different … and they appear to be controlled by a strange creature long since thought extinct.

Gorgons were believed to be things of myth and legend but one is haunting the beaches of Charleston … in close proximity to the circus and a writer’s retreat. In fact, the nutty individuals spouting fantastical stories and trying to one-up one another in the bluff house overlooking the circus grounds are all suspects because one of them is controlling the gorgon. Finding the individual responsible for causing endless upheaval and death is no easy task, though.

Poet is a fighter but this battle is all-encompassing.

Not every monster is obvious. Sometimes they hide behind human faces.

This time Poet is going to have to wade through layers of darkness to find the light. Surviving to see the final sunrise will take them all working together … and even then they might not be strong enough to claim victory.

Darkness is coming. Will anyone survive to see the dawn?

It's Not Over by Willow RoseIt’s Not Over by Willow Rose:

Peter and Mary Marshall went on a vacation with their son and daughter but returned without their children. They went missing from their hotel room one night while the couple was downstairs in the restaurant for dinner.

They never saw them again.

Ten years later, the Marshalls have put the murder of their children behind them, moved to a different state, and had another child, a son.

When he disappears during a vacation trip to Florida, the parents are suddenly in the limelight again. Public opinion seems to be that this can be no coincidence. These things don’t happen twice to the same people, do they?

Former FBI-profiler, Eva Rae Thomas is doing well in her life, and things are calm until an FBI agent suddenly shows up, asking for her help with the case of the missing child.

The kidnapper seems to have a message for Eva Rae since she was the one who supposedly solved the case ten years ago.

As she digs into the disappearance of the boy, racing to save the child’s life, she realizes this psychopathic killer lurking in the shadows has unfinished business, and he’s not stopping till his debt is paid in full.

See How They Run by Julian ScottSee How They Run by Julian Scott:

A dead body in an alley. A hotel with a dark secret.

Olivia and Nate are back in Chicago for an FBI training. It’s supposed to be a relaxing trip away from the kids, but it isn’t long before they are pulled in to help investigate a recent murder. They quickly learn that the young woman found in the alley may not just be an innocent victim.

 

 

Murder at Brighton Beach by Lee StraussMurder at Brighton Beach by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s a Beach!

A family holiday turns deadly at Brighton Beach. When Ginger and Basil and their family check into the Brighton Beach Boutique Hotel on a lovely warm day in June of 1926, a shocking discovery upsets their plans to relax in the sun and surf. There’s a murderer amongst the holidayers: Is it the starlet? The earl? The disgruntled businessman?

In this Agatha Christie-style addition to the Ginger Gold Mystery series, not only will Ginger not finish her book, she and Basil might not get out of the hotel alive.

Murder on Location by Lee and Norm StraussMurder on Location by Lee and Norm Strauss:

Murder’s a wrap!

Private Investigator Rosa Reed has finally accepted that her girlhood romance with Detective Miguel Belmonte has no hope of being rekindled, but when his actress girlfriend gets embroiled in a murder on her movie set, it’s more than a movie schedule that’s upsetting. Can Rosa put aside matters of the heart long enough to help Miguel solve the case?

 

Burning Girl by Robb T. WhiteBurning Girl by Robb T. White:

Detective Riisa Jones is a new detective with her first case as lead investigator for the Gallion, Rhode Island P.D. It’s a bad one: the body of a young woman has been set ablaze in a dumpster behind a local tavern, well known to the cops. Some of her colleagues, including her own partner “Kaz,” a veteran cop nearing retirement, wouldn’t mind seeing her fail. Riisa’s first obstacle is identifying the body. Before long, she’s neck-deep in a case that twists out of her reach every time she follows a lead. Those dead ends are piling up and so is the pressure to solve this horrific case. Riisa finds herself digging past the lies of respectable people to uncover some dirty secrets, and she had better hurry because there are killers behind those liars who are watching and paying attention to her.

A Drowning in DulwichA Drowning in Dulwich by Lynda Wilcox:

London 1924.

Private enquiry agent Lady Eleanor Bakewell looks forward to a relaxing few days at the Cuthbert Health and Beauty Clinic, where Irene, the owner, claims to have rediscovered the beauty secrets of Ancient Egypt.

But, when Irene is drowned in the clinic’s exotic Egyptian pool the pampering has to stop.

Convinced her death is murder, and that everyone in the house has a motive, Eleanor must uncover more than just beauty secrets if she is to bring a killer to justice.

Unshakeable Faith by Lisa WorrallUnshakeable Faith by Lisa Worrall:

“I have no idea who I am.”

Brody Tyler is the owner of a successful bar in San Antonio. Life is good. All that’s missing is someone to share it with. When a desperate stranger walks into the bar with no memory of who he is, Brody knows he must help him. Offering him a job and a place to say seems the right thing to do. Falling in love with him is easy.

Nash, a name he picked himself, is lost when he walks into Brody’s bar. He’d spent the last three months in hospital and had been left with no memory and nowhere to go. Brody’s offer of a job and a place to stay is insane – but Nash instinctively knows he can trust him. Falling in love with his white knight, however, is unexpected.

When tragedy strikes, their perfect world comes crashing down around them. In a twist of fate and mistaken identity, Brody finds himself Nash’s protector once more and he will do anything to keep him safe.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2020

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
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 AuckesFree 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 AuckesBounty 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 BoothAloha 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 BourgeoisBook 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 BuhlertThe 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:

•Evacuation Order
•Baptism of Fire
•Mercy Mission
•Acacia Crescent
•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 BurokerMist 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 ClarkeDeadland 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 DarkHeartless 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 FoxThe 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 FoxNecrotech 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 Gunnells324 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. BlixSilent 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 HartWicked 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 HaynesZero 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. LeeBrewing 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. LockA 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 NoorEx 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. PierceOf 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 PopeWinds 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 RossonRoad 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 ShawFraternity 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 SpringerCosmic 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 StewartDeception 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. TapscottLacey 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. ThorneChild 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.

Loudly.

Code Monkey by A.E. WilliamsCode 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.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for July 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of crime 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.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, culinary mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, fantasy mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, noir, police procedurals, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, science fiction thrillers, police officers, amateur sleuths, private investigators, forensic linguists, smugglers, kidnappers, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting cats, deadly cupcakes and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime 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:

Book of Dark Magic by Sara BourgeoisBook 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!

A Treasured Little Murder by Beth ByersA Treasured Little Murder by Beth Byers:

August 1926

Jack and Ham’s first solo case is placed on pause just as the tale of a treasure is brought to light. ??As the case progresses, Vi and Rita dive in, and somehow it becomes a competition between the two couples. Things, however, take a sideways turn and the couples must unite and work together to protect all they hold dear.

Book TWENTY-THREE in the Violet Carlyle Mysteries. Are you ready for the roaring twenties? You’ll love Vi, her patient husband Jack, her indulgent twin Vic, and their friends.

Deadland Sentinel by J.N. Chaney and Ell Leigh ClarkeDeadland 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.

The Contract by William ColemanThe Contract by William Coleman:

Once a decorated cop, Hawke has fallen from grace and has turned private investigator to make ends meet. His first case is a simple one: follow the woman, Maddie, and get pictures of her having an affair.

But nothing is that simple. Hawke is forced to intervene when the Maddie is almost kidnapped right in front of him. When it happens again, Hawke switches from stalker with a camera to bodyguard with a gun.

The lawyer who hired him is not satisfied with the outcome or that Hawke is looking into who is responsible for the abduction attempts. He threatens Hawke to get him to back down, something not in the investigator’s nature.

To protect Maddie, Hawke must take her along while following the few leads he has to identify who is responsible and why. The closer they get to the truth the more danger they find themselves in.

Will they find who is out to get Maddie before it’s too late?

Cash Up Front by Mike FaricyCash Up Front by Mike Faricy:

Dev Haskell takes his ‘friend with benefits’ Heidi, out to dinner. His late night plans are suddenly put on hold when failed criminal, Tommy Benedetti shows up and forces Heidi into a stretch limo. Benedetti gives Heidi $200,000. Gee, $200,000 in cash, what could possibly go wrong?
There’s only one thing to do and Dev sets out to build a ‘working relationship’with FBI agent Candi Mangle

Another incredibly bizarre Dev Haskell read… Multiple tales wrapped into one crazy adventure.

 

Wicked Games by Lily Harper HartWicked 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.

Cutthroat Cupcakes by Cate LawleyCutthroat Cupcakes by Cate Lawley:

Killer cupcakes

Seems improbable to Lina, but when an attractive detective snaps cuffs on her and accuses her of witchy crimes she’s forced to reconsider.

The murder weapon? A cupcake topper sold in Lina’s shop, Sticky, Tricky Treats.
The method? A killing curse.
The curse’s origin? Lina…sort of.

Except Lina hadn’t a clue that she was a witch, and certainly didn’t know she’d accidentally cursed some of her confections.
She’s got to catch the killer who’s used her magic to murder or face a conviction as an accessory.
Now, if only the wizard detective assigned to the case weren’t such a distraction.

Cutthroat Cupcakes is a magical witch culinary cozy with a touch of romance, the first of three books in the Cursed Candy Mysteries series!

Brewing up a Storm by Amanda M. LeeBrewing 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.

The Collector by John MaherThe Collector by John Maher:

They say human life is the most precious thing. The Collector doesn’t agree.

When world renowned archaeologist Philip Carlton suddenly and unexpectedly commits suicide, the police are called to investigate. Heading up the investigation is Detective Lucy O’Hara, a Forensic Linguist – and she immediately sees something is wrong with the suicide note. In her gut, she knows this was cold-blooded murder.

Battling sceptical superiors and the Irish establishment, Lucy digs for the truth and begins to uncover a shadowy trade in ancient artifacts led by a mysterious figure known only as ‘The Collector’.

As Lucy works to uncover his identity, she soon realises she is up against a ruthless mastermind who is systematically eliminating anyone who might lead her to him. But Lucy won’t give up and soon The Collector turns his attention to her…

The Collector – the first in a gripping new series featuring Detective Lucy O’Hara.

No Little Lies by A.B. PlumNo Little Lies by A.B. Plum

Burying memories sharp enough to raise a welt on the heart can work.

Or not.

Ask Ryn Davis. The adult daughter of a former high-class prostitute, she knows chronic, long-term insomnia reduces repression as a preferred coping technique. Still, she relies on denial.

A phone call from a stranger claiming her mother was murdered twenty years ago turns her life inside out. The reappearance of a forgotten childhood friend exposes buried and forgotten memories. Lies and half-truths torpedo her shaky world.

In this fast-paced psychological thriller, the suspense ratchets up. A psychopath’s ever-present memories drive him to exact revenge for Ryn’s lies about the past. His terrifying game of cat and mouse pit him against her where she is most vulnerable. His ties to organized crime make him even more dangerous.

Who is in control? What really happened to her mother? Why can’t Ryn remember?

Is facing her past the path to survival or death?

Lacey and Alex: The Dagger of Ill Repute by V.R. TapscottLacey 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.

Northtown Blitz by Robert WhiteNorthtown Blitz by Robert White

“With his usual razor-sharp writing Robert White takes us further into the world of Northtown & Raimo Jarvi in this second book of what is fast turning out to be a must-read series.”

Fresh from the success of his last case we find Raimo Jarvi reaping the benefits of his new-found status as a private detective who gets results.

Bella Cinciarelli was the eldest of three of sisters, all of them famous as high school beauties back in the day, and now one of them is dead. The coroner ruled the death natural causes but Bella is convinced her sister was murdered and she wants Raimo’s help to prove it and bring the murderer to justice.

The problems begin when Raimo realises Bella’s main suspect is her brother-in-law, James delCorelli – lawyer, businessman and county commissioner – a powerful man, a man with powerful friends, and as Raimo soon discovers – not a man you want to get on the wrong side of.

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Cora Goes to CoNZealand, the Virtual 2020 Worldcon

CoNZealand LogoCoNZealand, the virtual 2020 Worldcon, kicks off tomorrow or rather tonight. If you’re a member of CoNZealand, you can see me on the following panels:

The Evolution of Fanzines

Format: Panel

29 Jul 2020, Wednesday 16:00 – 16:50, Programme Room 5 (Zoom Meeting) (Programming)

Fanzines have been a beloved part of fandom for decades, and new ones are still springing up. What are the best new fanzines, and what classic fanzines are still putting out new content? Our panel of creators and enthusiasts discuss the relevance and importance of contemporary fanzines.

Chris Garcia (Team Journey Planet), Wendy Browne (Women Write About Comics), Sarah Gulde (Star Trek Quarterly), Greg Hills (Aesir HeathCare), Cora Buhlert (M), Jeanne Mealy

 

Come Time Travel with Me – 1965

Format: Panel
30 Jul 2020, Thursday 09:00 – 09:50, Programme Room 1 (Webinar) (Programming)Blast back to 1965: Beatlemania has seized the nation, the Great Society is on the rise, but southeast Asia and America’s inner cities are in turmoil.In geekdom, the Twilight Zone has just ended its five year run, The Outer Limits is off the air, but the Robinsons are about to get Lost in Space, and The Doctor is finishing his second season. Marvel and DC comics have growing stables of superhero teams, featuring a level of diversity and maturity never seen before. Anime is so new that the genre doesn’t have a name yet. Tabletop wargaming has taken off. And at last year’s World Science Fiction convention, a civil war violently split the fans.

Join award-winning SF author, Gideon Marcus, for a whirlwind trip through time: The space race, films, books, music, comics, politics, fashion — we cover it all! You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you’ll love it!

Lorelei Marcus (Galactic Journey), Gideon Marcus (Galactic Journey (and Journey Press) ) , Cora Buhlert, Erica Frank (Galactic Journey), Janice Marcus (Galactic Journey, Journey Press)

 

Cover Art

Format: Panel

31 Jul 2020, Friday 09:00 – 09:50, Programme Room 3 (Webinar) (Programming)

Let’s be truthful: you do judge a book by its cover. Otherwise, why would we bother with beautiful cover art? We will talk about the purpose(s) of the art, cover design, matching art to the story, and good (and maybe a few bad) examples of memorable book covers.

John Picacio, Cora Buhlert (M), Gideon Marcus (Galactic Journey (and Journey Press) ), Pablo Defendini (Fireside), Alyssa Winans

 

The Second Golden Age: SF of the 1960s

Format: Panel

31 Jul 2020, Friday 11:00 – 11:50, Programme Room 2 (Webinar) (Programming)

There was an explosion of new good SF in the 1960s, with the emergence of great new writers, a number of short story venues that expanded the scope of the field, and a series of classic novels that are still ranked as among the most important in the field’s history.

Dr. Bradford Lyau (M), Robert Silverberg, Cora Buhlert, Dr. Jack Dann, Kathryn Sullivan

 

Translation: the Key to Open Doors to the Cultural Diversity in SFF

Format: Panel

31 Jul 2020, Friday 12:00 – 12:50, Programme Room 2 (Webinar) (Programming)

Translated SFF are one way of knowing different cultural backgrounds, and is getting more attention than before. Discussion will go around what is the good story to be translated, or what is the key factor in actually selecting stories to be translated, from the editor or translator point of view.

Libia Brenda (Independent), Cora Buhlert (M), Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld Magazine), Mr. Wataru Ishigame (Tokyo Sogensha (Publisher)) , Luis F. Silva

 

And don’t forget to cheer me on at the Hugo Awards ceremony, where I’m nominated for Best Fan Writer:

Hugo Awards Ceremony

11:00, Saturday 1 Aug 2020 NZST (3 hours 30 minutes)

The biggest event of the convention. Join our toastmaster George R R Martin and special guests, as he presents the Hugo Award winners for 2019.

 

You can also find me in the Dealers’ Hall, selling e-books, so drop by and say hello.

Also be sure to check out the CoNZealand Yarnbombing gallery, where you can find my creation Occulus the Eyeball Monster with lots of other great yarnbombing projects around the world.

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New Thurvok Adventure Available: The Beast from the Sea of Blood

This will only be a very short new release announcement, because I’m still busy with the July Short Story Challenge, where the aim is to write a short story per day during the month of July. You can follow along my progress here. Furthermore, I’m also busy with Worldcon related stuff and with day job (teaching and translation) stuff, because things tend to happen all at once.

Still, I did manage to publish a new Thurvok adventure just before embarking onto the July Short Story Challenge. It’s called The Beast from the Sea of Blood and was actually written during last year’s July Short Story Challenge. The inspiration was this image of what is presumably Conan by comic artist Gino D’Achille.

So accompany Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha, as they search for a pirate treasure and find…

The Beast from the Sea of Blood
The Beast from the Sea of Blood by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThey seek a treasure and find a monster…

Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha are on the hunt for a legendary pirate treasure, when they find themselves marooned on a desolate isle. To add insult to injury, there is no treasure on the island. There are, however, monsters…

This is a short story of 5400 words or 20 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 5400 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 iBooks, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Our Nine Year Anniversary

July 3 marks Pegasus Pulp’s nine year anniversary, so it’s time for another overview post. In the past nine years, our catalogue has grown to 146 titles in two languages.

What is more, I’m currently trying for a repeat of the July short story challenge, where the idea is to write a short story per day in July (for a summary of the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 challenges, see here). I’ll also put up a running tally of stories written over at my personal blog again. I’m not sure if I will manage to do the challenge for the whole month this year, because Worldcon is in late July and will take up most of my time and attention. But so far I’ve written three stories in as many days. And since writing a short story every day takes time, this post will be somewhat basic.

So let’s take a look at the figures and percentages. The figures of previous years may be found here BTW.

Warning, lots of statistical neepery under the cut. Continue reading

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2020

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
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 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. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, cozy fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mysteries, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, near future science fiction, alternate history, steampunk, time travel, non-fiction, dragons, ghosts, sea monsters, magicians, vampires, fae, superheroes, space outlaws, dinosaurs, capramancers, crime-busting witches, time-travelling taxmen, time-travelling detectives, killer clowns, stolen colonists, android generals 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 Attic Tragedy by J. Ashley-SmithThe Attic Tragedy by J. Ashley-Smith:

Sylvie never called them ghosts, but that’s what they were—not that George ever saw them herself. The new girl, Sylvie, is like a creature from another time, with her old-fashioned leather satchel, her white cotton gloves and her head in the clouds. George watches her drift around the edge of the school playing fields, guided by inaudible voices.When George stands up for Sylvie, beating back Tommy Payne and his gang of thugs, it brings her close to the ethereal stranger; though not as close as George would have liked. In the attic of Sylvie’s father’s antique shop, George’s scars will sing and her longing will drive them both toward a tragedy as veiled and inevitable as Sylvie’s whispering ghosts.

Black Sheep by Rachel AuckesBlack Sheep by Rachel Auckes:

An alien ship. Stolen colonists. All Throttle wanted was a vacation…

Fifteen years into a twenty-year voyage, war veteran Captain Throttle Reyne is looking forward to taking a break from dealing with malfunctions, glitches, and the hassles of monitoring a thousand colonists in cryo-sleep.

But when her colony ship breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Throttle and her crew must leave the colonists behind to search for help. They find a ship that’s not only missing a crew… it’s clearly not from their star system.

It’s the discovery of a lifetime. All they need to do is tow the mysterious vessel back to their colony ship for further study and
Throttle won’t ever have to work again. One problem. While they’re away, the colony ship is stolen—with the colonists still on board.

Throttle gives chase to a lawless star system on the outer rim. To get their colonists back, they must take on the pirates and ganglords who will do anything—and sell anyone—to make a buck.

They play dirty. But Throttle and her crew play dirtier.

The Beast from the Sea of Blood by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Beast from the Sea of Blood by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

They seek a treasure and find a monster…

Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha are on the hunt for a legendary pirate treasure, when they find themselves marooned on a desolate isle. To add insult to injury, there is no treasure on the island. There are, however, monsters…

This is a short story of 5400 words or 20 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

False Security by Lindsay BurokerFalse Security by Lindsay Buroker:

I never thought I would date a dragon, or feed him chicken strips late at night, but life has gotten interesting.

My steady dragon—you may know him as Lord Zavryd’nokquetal, but I get to call him Zav—is offering to take me to the elven homeland to meet my father and learn to harness the magic in my blood.

Sure, I’m wary about his plans to force the elves to train me, but I need every advantage I can get. Especially when vampire attacks start cropping up all over Seattle, and my friend and business partner, Dimitri, disappears.

Unfortunately, my training will have to wait. If I don’t find my friend in time, I may never see him alive again.

Cold Case in Spell by J.L. CollinsA Cold Case in Spell by J.L. Collins:

Charming Springs – Where every day is colder than a witch’s kitty!

After ditching her cheating fiancé, Indie Warren hits the road in her trusty old truck, refusing to settle for anyone or anywhere.

But all that changes after Indie gets stuck in the frozen ghost town of Charming Springs, North Carolina.

In the middle of July.

This secret magical town was struck by a curse that brought on eternal winter and cast a barrier around it with no way in or out.

And Indie knows this because the talking owl told her so, obviously.

Suddenly Indie’s thrown into a world of magic, mayhem, and murder. And when she stands accused of the deadly deed, she’ll have to use her wits to prove her innocence… if she can keep her newfound magical powers under control!

Even with the help of her feathered friend and the mysterious reaper with his own secrets, she’ll need to find her own way out of this cursed place—dead or alive.

The Daedalus Job by M.D. CooperThe Daedalus Job by M.D. Cooper:

Jax Bremen is an outlaw… sort of…

Within the L, a tri-star system located inside the Aquilian Nebula, Jax makes a living trading and smuggling whatever goods pay the best. So far, he’s avoided being caught with anything too damning in his ship’s holds, but when he takes a job for Korinth, an infamous arms dealer, all that changes.

The haul is worth ten times his ship, and when the contents gets him embroiled in a tug of war between the major political factions of the L, Jax has to keep the criminals he works for from discovering that he’s playing both sides. Hell, he just might have to play all the sides to navigate the tangled web he’s in.

Every move he makes to get free of the quagmire draws him in deeper until Jax finds himself on the hook to run the hardest job he’s ever undertaken: rob the Daedalus, a military cruiser escorting a convoy through the Maelstrom.

Sure. Cakewalk, right?

The Hugosauriad by Camestros FelaptonThe Hugosauriad: A Dinographic Account of the Hugo Awards by Camestros Felapton:

A Dinographic Account of the Hugo Awards. Featuring essays on every Hugo finalist dinosaur story from 1952 to 2019, plus many more. This book traces a dual history. It is an account of how dinosaurs have been represented in notable science fiction stories from the 1950s onwards but is also an examination of the history of the Hugo Science Fiction Awards. Mixing humour and analysis, The Hugosauriad is a unique look at pop-culture over sixty-seven years.

 

Mountain Witch by Rachel FordMountain Witch by Rachel Ford:

From the mountains, a witch will rise.

Knight Protector Brynja knows why the people of her village never wander too far. There’s a witch who lives deep in the heart of the mountain. Some say she’s one of the last elves, who will have her vengeance on mankind. Some say she’s a myth, meant to frighten wandering children.

But Brynja knows better, because she was one of those wandering younglings. And she saw the witch as a child. She still sees her, in her nightmares.

When an army of dragon riders shows up at Brynja’s doorstep, the knight protector has to warn her queen. But the only way to the capital is through the impenetrable wall of riders.

The only way, except through the mountain caves. The only way, unless she’s willing to revisit her nightmares.

Contacts and Tax Cons by Rachel FordContacts and Tax Cons by Rachel Ford:

An alternate universe. A dystopian nightmare. A sinister plot.

When agents of the Interdimensional Bureau of Temporal Investigations start vanishing, IRS senior analyst and IBTI agent Alfred Favero is assigned to the case. His mission? Track down a mysterious contact known only as Krasnaya.

In a world where every word is overheard, every thought policed, and every action monitored, Alfred must stay off the radar long enough to find his quarry – and get back home before the brutal politsiya or the shadowy rebels get their hands on him.

Otherwise, the intrepid lawman may have pursued his last lead…

Android General 1 by C. GockelAndroid General 1 by C. Gockel:

The Darkness will strike again …

The last time Carl, Volka, and 6T9 fought the Dark, 6T9 failed Volka. If he wants her and all the carbon based life forms that he loves to survive, he needs to change. Change for an android is as easy as flipping a switch, but dealing with the consequences is not so simple.

To save Volka, he’ll have to give up part of himself that Volka adores. He’ll need to become something an innocent, peace loving sex ‘bot was never designed to be, something he despises.

To save Volka and the galaxy he’ll need to become … Android General 1.

Black Dawn by K. GormanBlack Dawn by K. Gorman:

Genetic engineering. Conspiracy. An unstoppable attack.

Karin Makos lives a lie. Genetically engineered from birth and raised in a scientific compound to gain unnatural powers, she has since escaped and built another life, hidden from those who created her. For her, the chance to pilot a small-time scrounging vessel to remote corners of space is the dream. After years on the run with her sister and enduring the constant paranoia of living planet-side, going off-radar gives her exactly what she wants: freedom.

That dream is shattered.

A system-wide attack decimates humanity and leaves the survivors scraping for clues. And Karin might know where to look.

But digging into her past comes with a whole new set of secrets and consequences, none of which she wants to face. Plagued by strange dreams of her sister and a sense of growing danger, Karin and the crew of the Nemina must race desperately across space to find their loved ones—and answers.

The Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper HartThe Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper Hart:

Life is going well for Hannah Hickok. Her business – a cosplay western town in Kentucky – is thriving and she’s even interviewing bartenders so she can finally take on different duties in her new world. All that comes to a screeching halt when a guest grabs what’s supposed to be a prop gun and fires it at another guest during an altercation.

Suddenly, death is calling in Casper Creek … and it’s wearing many masks.

Hannah is thrown by the brutality of the action. She’s also confused why her boyfriend Cooper Wyatt was acting out of sorts right before it happened. The questions about exactly what happened are only compounded when the coroner comes back with a shocking report: There was no bullet found in the body and the manner of death is undetermined.

In short order, an FBI agent is put in charge of the case, Casper Creek is shut down, and Hannah and Cooper are plunged into a sundry world of magical creatures with death and destruction on the brain. Thanks to a tip from local witch Astra, Hannah soon realizes she’s grappling with something bigger than she’s ever dealt with before … and it will be seven times as deadly.

War is coming. Hannah’s magic is still a work in progress but she’s going to be put through the paces on this one. She has a new family. It will be up to her to save them when magical forces collide

Is she up to the challenge?

Blood and Fire by D.N. HoxaBlood and Fire by D.N. Hoxa:

My name is Ruby Monroe, but most people know me by my other name: the One-eyed Hawk.

Back in the day, I wanted to be a superhero, hunt down bad guys and make them pay for doing bad things. Four years later, I’m still paying the price for thinking that there is such a thing as justice in the world. The only thing I have left of that life is a blind eye and the stupid nickname.

When the woman who raised me goes missing, I have no choice but to go back to my old home to find her. As if that wasn’t bad enough, some supervillain-wannabe starts kidnapping the most powerful magians in the city, and I somehow always end up in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The authorities are looking for someone to blame, and who better to take the fall than an already wanted murderer?

Lucky for me, I don’t give two shits about what people think. With the help of a walking, talking flame-thrower named Logan, who just so happens to be as hot as the fire he makes with his hands, I’m going to have to do the impossible and bring justice to this lawless city for once.

Better watch out, Mr. Bad Guy. Ruby Monroe is in town, and she’s coming for you.

Kwelengsen Storm by David M. KellyKwelengsen Storm by David M. Kelly:

You can turn your back on war, but sometimes it refuses to let you go.

When Logan Twofeathers takes on the job of head of engineering on Kwelengsen, the first habitable planet discovered by Earth, he thinks he’s leaving conflict far behind. But when he investigates the loss of a deep-space communications relay, his ship is attacked and crash-lands back on the planet.

With his new home destroyed by the invaders, Logan is stranded deep in the frozen mountains with an injured sergeant who hates him almost as much as the enemy. Against the ever-present threat of capture, he must battle his way through icy surroundings in a treacherous attempt to find his wife.

And when he’s forced to ally himself with a disparate group of soldiers and their uncompromising captain, Logan must face the reality that he may have lost everything—and everyone—he loves. Will he choose to fight? And what will it cost him?

Kwelengsen Storm is the first in a gripping, new sci-fi thriller series from the author of the Joe Ballen novels.

Knights Magica by B.R. KingsolverKnights Magica by B.R. Kingsolver:

If the Knights Magica want a war, I’m willing to give them one.

I damned my soul long ago. What I do from this point forward is about redemption. If I burn in Hell because of fighting for others, for shouldering their sins, so be it.

The Knights are powerful, and they have taken control of the Universal Church. All across the world, the Knights find themselves in conflict with other paranormals and supernaturals. Human governments scramble to cope with the new reality of magic. Cities become battlegrounds.

And in Westport, Rosie O’Grady’s Bar and Grill becomes a center for organizing the Resistance.

Then the Fae decide it’s time to act.

Gravity is Heartless by Sarah LaheyGravity is Heartless by Sarah Lahey:

What will the world look like in thirty years’ time? How will humanity survive the oncoming effects of climate change? Set in the near future and inspired by the world around us, Gravity Is Heartless is a romantic adventure that imagines a world on the cusp of climate catastrophe.

The year is 2050: automated cities, vehicles, and homes are now standard, artificial Intelligence, CRISPR gene editing, and quantum computing have become a reality, and climate change is in full swing—sea levels are rising, clouds have disappeared, and the planet is heating up.

Quinn Buyers is a climate scientist who’d rather be studying the clouds than getting ready for her wedding day. But when an unexpected tragedy causes her to lose everything, including her famous scientist mother, she embarks upon a quest for answers that takes her across the globe—and she uncovers friends, loss and love in the most unexpected of places along the way. Gravity Is Heartless is bold, speculative fiction that sheds a hard light on the treatment of our planet even as it offers a breathtaking sense of hope for the future.

The Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. LeeThe Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes’ life is in turmoil. Her relationship with her boyfriend Jack is going well but Casey, the newest member of the Legacy Foundation, has dropped a bombshell and Charlie feels as if things are spinning out of control. While waiting for DNA results to prove (or disprove, for that matter) Casey’s identity, the team gets called out on a weird case.

It seems sadistic clowns with magical abilities are killing people in the suburbs surrounding Nashville, and the deaths are bloody and horrible. Upon arriving on the scene, Charlie and Jack stumble across an entire cadre of clowns hanging out at the fairgrounds and the game is afoot.
Mystic Caravan Circus isn’t what it appears to be on the surface. Poet Parker, second in command for the circus, is front and center as Jack and Charlie start digging for answers. It seems both sides are keeping secrets, though, and discovering the truth isn’t going to be easy.

Charlie has always zealously guarded her supernatural secret and it seems she’s not the only one, because the moment she crosses the threshold to the circus she senses she’s surrounded by a magical group of otherworldly individuals.

Trust takes time but that’s a precious commodity as the clowns ramp up their attacks. It’s going to take everyone working together to figure out what’s happening … and who is behind it.

Poet and Charlie make a fearsome twosome but they might not be enough to take on this particular threat. Everybody hates a clown, and when this trio declares war, the horror that follows will haunt an entire city.

Charlie is determined to deal with the clowns before focusing on her personal life. She has to survive to find answers, though, and it’s going to take every ounce of power she has to come out safely on the other side.

Fear is the name of the game, and two heroes are about to collide.

The Influencer by R.T.W. LipkinThe Influencer by R.T.W. Lipkin:

His secret was that he created her. Her secret is much bigger.

Beautiful. Mysterious. Unreachable.

Broadcasting from her perfectly curated room, she’s an instant sensation. Everyone wants to buy what she has. Wear her jewelry. Use her makeup. So they can be like her. Look like her. Feel close to her. Know her.

But no one can really know Ash. She’s just an illusion. A string of code I created to sell things and make money.

It was the perfect plan.

Until she starts going off script, saying things I didn’t program her to say.
Knowing things she can’t know.
Feeling things she can’t feel.
Or can she?

Phyllis Wong and the Crumpled Stranger by Geoffrey McSkimmingPhyllis Wong and the Crumpled Man by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong, that brilliant young magician and clever sleuth, discovers a mysterious stranger who keeps appearing by the rotunda in City Park, little does she know that the Time he brings with him will lead her into a world of danger, intrigue and undiscovered threats from the past!

Will Phyllis’s magic be enough to save her from the perils that will cross her path? Will she be able to solve the riddle of the stranger and the place from which he comes?

A haunting story, swirling through the world of words and the ticking of time!

The seventh Phyllis Wong: Time Detective mystery.

Free Fall by T.S. PaulFree Fall by T.S. Paul:

Mars is doomed!

While the idea of breaking away from the tyranny of Earth might sound like a good idea in practice it sucks. Riddled with quislings, the Martian government cannot hide from the inevitable. When the fleets away the warships play. Invasion of the worst kind.

Trapped aboard the Einstein space station Rowan Wolf is out of options. Should he fight the good fight or return home to save his family?

The Wounded Ones by G.D. PenmanThe Wounded Ones by G.D. Penman:

Demons and serial killers are Iona “Sully” Sullivan’s bread and butter, but nothing could have prepared her to face off against the full weight of the British Empire at the height of its power. With the War for American Independence in full swing, she finds even her prodigious talents pushed beyond their limits when citizens of the American Colonies begin vanishing amidst rumors of crop circles, hydra sightings and worse. Through a wild and lethal adventure that will see her clashing with the Empire around the world and beyond, the only constants in Sully’s life are an undead girlfriend, a giant demon crow that has taken a shine to her, regular assassination attempts by enemies on all sides, and the cold certainty that nothing and nobody is going to make it out of the war in one piece.

A Touch of Ice by Nita RoundA Touch of Ice by Nita Round:

To have a future, they must face their past.

Magda, Ascara and Lucinda must draw upon the strength of their trinity to seek out the truths of the past that hold the key to their future.

They travel north, to Magda’s place of birth amongst the Oceanics. For Magda, this is an unwelcoming place, a reminder that she was banished and dealt a cruel fate. Named Stoner and landlocked, for an Oceanic this is a dishonour and a fate worse than death. To return to the float again would place her life, and those with her, at risk.

In the freezing waters of the far north, Magda finds herself defending her honour and birth right. She must succeed as their fate depends upon it. Failure is not an option, the costs are too high.

If you like a mash-up of steampunk and fantasy, with strong willed and quick-witted women, then you’ll love Nita Round’s imaginative series.

Will Magda allow the past to hold her back, or will she find her destiny?

Hollis Whittaker by C.B.S. ShanahanHollis Whittaker by C.B. Shanahan:

It changed the course of WWII. In 1945, it was stolen. Now a ten-year-old boy has found it, and the government will kill him to get it.

When ten-year-old Hollis Whittaker picks up a strange medallion he stumbled upon at the edge of a stream, he suddenly begins exhibiting signs of brilliance, even discovering the solar system’s Planet X and astounding the astronomical community. The awkward, overweight fifth grader with heart problems is an instant media sensation, but all is not well. The genius-making medallion bonds to only one person for life and the U.S. government has been searching for it since World War II, which means they’re prepared to kill Hollis to acquire it so they can exploit the medallion’s immense power.

After a thwarted hit job by two military agents, Hollis treks cross-country with the aid of his best friend Kirby and a Navajo woman, Cha’Risa, whose family possessed the medallion—the Ní?ch’i—more than seventy years ago. They are hoping Cha’Risa’s aged grandfather will be able to help them. Unfortunately, the whole country believes she has kidnapped the boys, and the agents who are trying to kill Hollis have the system on their side.

The Peacekeeper Initiative by Glynn StewartThe Peacekeeper Initiative by Glynn Stewart:

Amidst the ruins of a broken empire
A new warlord rises to power
The worlds in his path call for help
And the United Planets Alliance answers!

The Kenmiri Empire has fallen, broken against the might of the Vesheron rebels and the United Planets Space Force. The alliance between the Vesheron and the UPSF has collapsed in turn, leaving the former empire as worlds without governance or leaders.

Amidst the chaos, the UPSF has launched a valiant effort to reach out to the weak and protect the defenseless. As part of the Peacekeeper Initiative, Colonel Henry Wong leads the battlecruiser Raven deep into once-hostile territory.

There, an old ally has begun to forge a new empire from the old slave worlds. As starvation forces worlds to surrender, Henry prepares a desperate plan to bring food to the hungry—and defeat to those who conquer!

Duelist by John TriptychDuelist by John Triptych:

Interstellar war has been outlawed, and all conflicts are now determined by single combat. The fate of entire planets rests upon the actions of a duelist—specialized gladiators trained and modified with the latest technology to win a death match against their equally formidable rivals.

Dyron Dyrge is an upstart who rises in power and prestige with each victory. Yet he shuns the limelight, for his secrets would tear the galaxy apart if they were ever revealed. Alix, an orphaned concubine with mysteries of her own, also begins her ascent within a corrupt, class-based society that rewards only the most cunning and ruthless of them all.

Together, these two individuals will eventually determine the fate of known space… unless their enemies kills them first.

The Capramancer Next Door by Danielle WilliamsThe Capramancer Next Door by Danielle Williams:

Down-to-earth mage Will Schafer has her hands full moving into a new house while keeping her mischievous herd of magical goats in line. Meeting handsome gardener Rickert Nash takes the sting out of moving…until his shadowy past comes roaring back to bite him in the butt.

Now Will and the herd must step in to save their neighbor from getting mulched—but can a girl and her goats defeat a formidable hunter…or are they all about to buy the farm?

Called “A wonderful read!” by the owner of GoatsLive.com, The Capramancer Next Door is an upbeat fantasy adventure sure to leave you smiling.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for June 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of crime 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.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, western mysteries, international mysteries, Japanese mysteries, paranormal mysteries, children’s mysteries, crime thrillers, spy thrillers, disaster thrillers, action thrillers, police procedurals, noir, police officers, amateur sleuths, security specialists, relocation experts, Pinkerton detectives, spies, terrorists, serial killers, missing teenagers, missing nukes, missing gold bullion, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting librarians, crime-busting cats, crime-busting ghosts, time-travelling detectives, killer clowns, crime and murder in Louisiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Tokyo, the Wild West and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime 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:

Murder in the Daytime by Blythe BakerMurder in the Daytime by Blythe Baker:

An elegant death…

When Alice Beckingham returns to London to see her sister and niece safely installed in the family home, she hopes for some quiet time of contemplation. But she has scarcely walked through the doors of Ashton House when she is greeted once again by mayhem and danger.

A visit from a mysterious stranger offers Alice an intriguing concept, an opportunity to turn her snooping talents into a profitable business. And who better to join in her new venture than the clever and capable Sherborne Sharp?

But a sudden death turns Alice’s plans upside down. Haunted by her failure to protect a client, Alice must discover who is behind a devious murder plot.

The Great Catsby by B.K. BaxterThe Great Catsby by B.K. Baxter:

Watch what you wish for… Some inheritances are literally death.

My life has been turned upside down by my inheritance, but my only complaint is the cat that came along with the new house.

I swear he’s judging me as I settle in and try to make new friends in my new small-town Louisiana neighborhood.

And just when I start to settle into my new job and get back to reading my classic novels, I’m pulled chapters deep into a mystery.

The Beauty Queen in the town has been offed. Someone has killed the darling.

Wouldn’t you know it? An innocent man has been framed.

I shouldn’t get involved, but somehow, my cat seems to have a way with finding clues in some of my favorite stories. Not that any of that makes sense.

Why would it?

The cat is the sleuth, I’m the amateur, and we have alligators in the backyard.

Throw in a dead body, a book club that’s filled with suspicious characters, and you have my new life.

And I thought being a librarian in Louisiana was going to be dull.

Mystery at the Edge of Madness by Beth ByersMystery at the Edge of Madness by Beth Byers:

July 1925

Severine DuNoir was twelve when she discovered the bodies of her parents, and the day after the funeral, she was sent to a convent in another country. By the time she resolves to go home, her sole focus is to reveal what happened to her parents.

Coming home, however, unveils a far more sinister plot than she could have expected. It’s clear from her first night that something is afoot. The motives are many and the target is clear: Severine herself.

Careless Whisper by Stacy ClaflinCareless Whisper by Stacy Claflin:

Someone is burying teenage girls alive.

It’s been nearly a full year since there were any local kidnappings, but now girls are going missing left and right. There are few commonalities linking them together, and the only evidence Alex Mercer has are the ransom notes left on each victim’s front door.

Tensions mount as clues point to the notorious kidnapping ring driven from town twelve months ago—the same ring that’s tormented him and his loved ones for years.

With so many young lives on the line, Alex is desperate. And he works tirelessly to solve the crimes before anyone dies. But if the ring has returned?

No one could be more determined to shut them down for good.

Cold Case in Spell by J.L. CollinsA Cold Case in Spell by J.L. Collins:

Charming Springs – Where every day is colder than a witch’s kitty!

After ditching her cheating fiancé, Indie Warren hits the road in her trusty old truck, refusing to settle for anyone or anywhere.

But all that changes after Indie gets stuck in the frozen ghost town of Charming Springs, North Carolina.

In the middle of July.

This secret magical town was struck by a curse that brought on eternal winter and cast a barrier around it with no way in or out.

And Indie knows this because the talking owl told her so, obviously.

Suddenly Indie’s thrown into a world of magic, mayhem, and murder. And when she stands accused of the deadly deed, she’ll have to use her wits to prove her innocence… if she can keep her newfound magical powers under control!

Even with the help of her feathered friend and the mysterious reaper with his own secrets, she’ll need to find her own way out of this cursed place—dead or alive.

The Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper HartThe Monstrous Seven by Lily Harper Hart:

Life is going well for Hannah Hickok. Her business – a cosplay western town in Kentucky – is thriving and she’s even interviewing bartenders so she can finally take on different duties in her new world. All that comes to a screeching halt when a guest grabs what’s supposed to be a prop gun and fires it at another guest during an altercation.

Suddenly, death is calling in Casper Creek … and it’s wearing many masks.

Hannah is thrown by the brutality of the action. She’s also confused why her boyfriend Cooper Wyatt was acting out of sorts right before it happened. The questions about exactly what happened are only compounded when the coroner comes back with a shocking report: There was no bullet found in the body and the manner of death is undetermined.

In short order, an FBI agent is put in charge of the case, Casper Creek is shut down, and Hannah and Cooper are plunged into a sundry world of magical creatures with death and destruction on the brain. Thanks to a tip from local witch Astra, Hannah soon realizes she’s grappling with something bigger than she’s ever dealt with before … and it will be seven times as deadly.

War is coming. Hannah’s magic is still a work in progress but she’s going to be put through the paces on this one. She has a new family. It will be up to her to save them when magical forces collide

Is she up to the challenge?

Kicked the Bucket by CeeCee JamesKicked the Bucket by CeeCee James:

Chelsea’s family life is pretty complicated. For starters, the family photo that she’s been carrying for her whole life has been a mystery in itself!

Before she can dig into her past, the present has taken a shocking turn… Chelsea finds a dead body in the pond and sitting on the shore is a bucket of flowers.

The more she learns about the dead man, the more she realizes he’s tied up in the knotted web of her own past. As the clues start to surface, Chelsea wonders if she’s better off leaving this one to the police.

Then a letter arrives threatening everything she ever loved. When the flowers begin to arrive, she realizes she can’t stop now or someone close to her will pay the ultimate consequence.

The Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. LeeThe Killer Clown Calamity by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes’ life is in turmoil. Her relationship with her boyfriend Jack is going well but Casey, the newest member of the Legacy Foundation, has dropped a bombshell and Charlie feels as if things are spinning out of control. While waiting for DNA results to prove (or disprove, for that matter) Casey’s identity, the team gets called out on a weird case.

It seems sadistic clowns with magical abilities are killing people in the suburbs surrounding Nashville, and the deaths are bloody and horrible. Upon arriving on the scene, Charlie and Jack stumble across an entire cadre of clowns hanging out at the fairgrounds and the game is afoot.

Mystic Caravan Circus isn’t what it appears to be on the surface. Poet Parker, second in command for the circus, is front and center as Jack and Charlie start digging for answers. It seems both sides are keeping secrets, though, and discovering the truth isn’t going to be easy.

Charlie has always zealously guarded her supernatural secret and it seems she’s not the only one, because the moment she crosses the threshold to the circus she senses she’s surrounded by a magical group of otherworldly individuals.

Trust takes time but that’s a precious commodity as the clowns ramp up their attacks. It’s going to take everyone working together to figure out what’s happening … and who is behind it.

Poet and Charlie make a fearsome twosome but they might not be enough to take on this particular threat. Everybody hates a clown, and when this trio declares war, the horror that follows will haunt an entire city.

Charlie is determined to deal with the clowns before focusing on her personal life. She has to survive to find answers, though, and it’s going to take every ounce of power she has to come out safely on the other side.

Fear is the name of the game, and two heroes are about to collide.

The Nuclear Option by Alan LeveroneThe Nuclear Option by Alan Leverone:

A Soviet tactical nuke has disappeared
and an American city may be targeted…

Still grieving the loss of her father, Tracie Tanner is back at work, tasked with infiltrating the home of a Russian general and acquiring intel regarding a rumored breakthrough in Soviet radar technology.

But what she finds is far more horrifying than a technological advance: a tactical nuclear device has been stolen out of a supposedly secure Soviet military base.

Together, Tracie and CIA Director Aaron Stallings determine that a shadowy group of Russian radicals – anxious for a return to the brutality of a byegone era in the Soviet Union – has acquired the bomb, intending to smuggle it into the United States and spark war by detonating it inside a major American city.

Now, racing against a ticking time bomb – literally – Tracie must get a line on the Russian radicals, desperate to learn where in the United States the bomb has been placed.

But what she finds shocks her to the core, because the group has a different plan for their prize. And Tracie Tanner may be the only one standing between the radicals and thousands of dead innocents…

Phyllis Wong and the Crumpled Stranger by Geoffrey McSkimmingPhyllis Wong and the Crumpled Man by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong, that brilliant young magician and clever sleuth, discovers a mysterious stranger who keeps appearing by the rotunda in City Park, little does she know that the Time he brings with him will lead her into a world of danger, intrigue and undiscovered threats from the past!

Will Phyllis’s magic be enough to save her from the perils that will cross her path? Will she be able to solve the riddle of the stranger and the place from which he comes?

A haunting story, swirling through the world of words and the ticking of time!

The seventh Phyllis Wong: Time Detective mystery.

Wired Ghost by Toby NealWired Ghost by Toby Neal:

Paradise is drowning in lava.

What would you do to survive during a volcanic eruption?

Security specialists Sophie and Jake take a job to rescue a teen girl shacked up with a dangerous meth cooker on the Big Island, and their wilderness destination turns out to be in the path of the biggest eruption Hawaii has seen in decades. Soon, they’re embroiled in a natural disaster too hot for anyone to handle.

Trapped underground in a lava tube, engulfed by darkness and heat, they struggle to outrun a deadly force that consumes everything in its path.

All in the Family by Tyler PorterAll in the Family by Tyler Porter:

A new case. A new monster. A city where no family is safe.

Detective Casey Norris has gotten his badge back, after coming out of retirement, and is back in charge of his team of detectives, which features a couple of new members. There is little time for introductions, however, as a new case has hit their desks featuring a monster unlike anything they have ever seen.

Helena has a new serial killer. A killer who has hit a breaking point. A killer who is hunting young families. A sadistic individual who seems to have no limits and who refuses to leave anyone in the city with a feeling of hope or safety.

Norris and his team are in a race against the clock as this new predator allows less and less time between each kill. Norris must work to understand the individual he pursues while fighting through his own personal demons which threaten to derail his case, as well as his life.

Being a part of a family is supposed to create a feeling of comfort and love, but for this killer, it only creates a new target.

Tokyo Traffic by Michael PronkoTokyo Traffic by Michael Pronko:

Running from a life she didn’t choose, in a city she doesn’t know Sukanya, a young Thai girl, loses herself in the vastness of Tokyo. With her Bangkok street smarts, and some stolen money, she stays ahead of her former captors who will do anything to recover the computer she took. After befriending Chiho, a Japanese girl living in an internet café, Sukanya makes plans to rid herself of her pursuers, and her past, forever.

In Tokyo, street smarts aren’t always enough

Meanwhile, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu leaves the safe confines of his office to investigate a porn studio where a brutal triple murder took place. The studio’s accounts point him in multiple directions at once. Together with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi and old-school Takamatsu, Hiroshi tracks the killers through Tokyo’s music clubs and teen hangouts, bayside docks and byways, straight into the underbelly of the global economy.

As bodies wash up from Tokyo Bay, Hiroshi tries to find the Thai girl at the center of it all, whose name he doesn’t even know. He uncovers a human trafficking ring and cryptocurrency scammers whose connections extend to the highest levels of Tokyo’s power elite.

TOKYO TRAFFIC is the third in the Tokyo-based Detective Hiroshi series by award-winning author Michael Pronko.

Some Awful Cunning by Joe RickerSome Awful Cunning by Joe Ricker:

Ryan Carpenter is an underground relocation specialist who helps people escape the danger and traumas of their life and start over. After agreeing to help the young wife of a Texas oil baron relocate her stepson to escape criminal prosecution, Ryan learns more than he wants to about the oil baron, his wife, and the stepson.

Haunted by his own forced relocation, Ryan betrays his client and is forced to scramble for his life, which only puts him face to face with the childhood past he’s been trying to escape his entire life. His flight brings him from Albuquerque, New Mexico; back to New Orleans, Louisiana; where Ryan learned his underground trade as a relocation specialist or “travel agent.” There, Ryan seeks the help of his former mentor to escape the endless resources of the people who will stop at nothing to find Ryan and have him killed.

But first, Ryan’s mentor needs a favor, and that favor forces Ryan back to Ironwood, Maine, a small timber town where Ryan grew up, and where the one person who might figure out who Ryan really is, is an ambitious deputy will stop at nothing to become sheriff. A town where everyone remembers the tragedy that took Ryan and his family’s life.

Or so they thought…

No Man's Land by Ron SchwabNo Man’s Land by Ron Schwab:

“He told me to get the blood hounds. I knew who he wanted. That’s why I’m here.”

In the aftermath of a bloody train robbery, The Pinkerton Detective Agency enlists the newly married detectives Trace and Darby Crockett to track down the gold bullion that was stolen from the train, as well as one of the passengers who was abducted by the outlaws: the fifteen year-old daughter of a railroad executive.

Time is of the essence in bestselling author Ron Schwab’s second Blood Hounds novel, No Man’s Land, as this sprawling Western doubles down on suspense and adventure, providing Trace and Darby with their most dangerous mission yet.

Careful What You Dash For by Isaac SweeneyCareful What You Dash For by Isaac Sweeney:

A serial killer uses Door Dash to lure his prey. He’s got the local police fooled and his property booby trapped. But Sarah is his next target, and she may turn into his greatest challenge.

 

 

 

 

Pineapple Hurricane by Amy VasantPineapple Hurricane by Amy Vasant:

When a Pineapple Port resident is found dead during an approaching hurricane, Charlotte fears someone’s trying to disguise murders as storm-related accidents. The first two victims have more than the storm in common – both were hoarding valuable storm supplies like toilet paper and water.

Hm. Maybe the killer is karma!

Bringing together the area’s community leaders to spread a warning could lead to even more trouble. Last time the Five Families got together, someone ended up dead. But things could be much deadlier if Declan’s crazy ex is right and the Puzzle Killer’s broken out of prison…

And did that lamppost just explode, or is someone trying to kill Charlotte and Declan?

Charlotte vows to solve the crime before the storm hits. Mariska and Darla vow to find some toilet paper for sale, even if they have to call in help from their old neighbor, the revenge-genius, Gloria.

Buckle down for a blustery ride as the storm hits!

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The Return of Richard Blakemore and a Long Overdue Multiple New Release Announcement

It has been a while since I had a new release announcement, even though I have had new releases in the meantime. However, some of the vendors were really dragging their feet in getting the books up. Still, better late than never.

In May, I – or rather, Richard Blakemore – published two new Thurvok sword and sorcery stories. Both stories grew out of last year’s July short story challenge. Talking of which, July is around the corner. I’m planning to continue the tradition and do another short story challenge this year, though it will probably be truncated, especially with Worldcon taking place at the end of the month.

But now back to Thurvok: The first story has Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha facing off against a swamp monster and rescuing a damsel in distress.

So buckle up and accompany Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha, as they battle…

The Thing from the Dread Swamp
The Thing from the Dread Swamp by Cora BuhlertWhile travelling through the Dread Swamp, Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends, Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha and the sorceress Sharenna come across an overturned wagon and the terrified merchant Polyxo who babbles that a monster has taken his daughter Cerissa. Because they are heroes – and because Polyxo has offered them a sizeable reward – the quartet of adventurers offers to rescue Cerissa from the thing that lives in the Dread Swamp.

This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 5300 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, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio, 24symbols and XinXii.

In the second new Thurvok story, Thurvok and the gang take to the high seas go in search of a legendary treasure. Unfortunately, it happens to be guarded by a Lovecraftian horror.

So prepare to face…

The Tentacled Terror
The Tentacled Terror by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha set sail for the sunken city of Nhom’zonac, looking for the lost treasure of the Sea Kings. But they have to get past the Lovecraftian horror guarding the city first.

This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

 

 

More information.
Length: 5300 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, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio, 24symbols and XinXii.

But Richard Blakemore hasn’t only been busy writing. After all, he still has his other career as the masked vigilante known only as the Silencer going on. I actually published a new Silencer story in late January and only now realised that I never officially announced it. With everything that happened this year, I just forgot to announce that story.

The story in question is called The Heavy Hand of the Editor and I have described it on Twitter as “The Silencer meets John W. Campbell – ’nuff said.”

The inspiration for that story was that – inspired by the Retro Reviews project – I was planning to write some deliberately retro style science fiction adventures (more on that soon). And since I already had a pen name for retro SFF, I thought, “Why not credit those to Richard Blakemore as well? He was a multi-genre author, after all, so why wouldn’t he have tried his hand at science fiction?”

That got me thinking what sort of science fiction Richard Blakemore would have written. He would probably have written the sort of adventure oriented SF that you used to find in magazines like Planet Stories, Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories, because I couldn’t imagine Richard writing the sort of infodumpy hard science fiction found in the pages of Astounding Science Fiction. And even if he had tried to write for Astounding, John W. Campbell‘s rewrite requests and general personality would have quickly driven Richard up the wall to the point that Campbell might well have found himself staring into the Silencer’s silver-plated twin .45 automatics.

And then I thought, “Actually, that’s a great idea for a Silencer story.” And this is how The Heavy Hand of the Editor was born.

Though The Heavy Hand of the Editor doesn’t feature the actual John W. Campbell, but a stand-in called Donald Angus Stuart, editor of an upstart new pulp magazine called Stunning Science Stories. Don A. Stuart was of course the pen name Campbell used to publish what is probably his most famous story, “Who Goes There?” Several other science fiction and pulp writers of the era appear as well.

So prepare to accompany Richard Blakemore a.k.a. The Silencer as he tackles…

The Heavy Hand of the Editor
The Heavy Hand of the Editor by Cora BuhlertNew York City, 1938: Richard Blakemore, hardworking pulp writer by day and the masked vigilante only known as the Silencer by night, has faced many a horror in his day. But few of them can match the terror of the blank page. Especially since Donald A. Stuart, the upstart young editor of an upstart young magazine called Stunning Science Stories, has already rejected Richard’s story “The Icy Cold of Space” four times.

Stuart demands changes that Richard does not want to make. Worse, he also holds Richard’s story hostage. Unless Stuart permanently rejects the story, Richard cannot sell it elsewhere.

There are a lot of shady practices in the pulp business, but Stuart’s actions are beyond the pale even for the wild west of publishing. And so the Silencer decides to pay Stuart a visit to put the fear of God into an editor who believes himself to be one.

This is a novelettes of 10800 words or approx. 38 print pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

Any resemblances to editors, writers and magazines living, dead or undead are entirely not coincidental.

More information.
Length: 10800 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, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio, 24symbols and XinXii.

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