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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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 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 April books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, horror, paranormal mysteries, time travel romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, weird westerns, dragons, ghosts, monsters, demons, knights, necromancers, immortals, superheroes, space marines, intergalactic relic hunters, tentacled terrors, crime-busting witches, swashbuckling cats 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:

Oblivion by Andrew BlinstonOblivion by Andy Blinston:

Once a god, now a target.

Darius wakes surrounded by blood. Most of his mind has been stolen, and the dark figure that took it wants the rest.

Caught in a centuries-old war between the human empire and fiery rakkan invaders, he soon learns his fearsome powers have made him an enemy to many.

Unable to tell friend from foe, he must fight to escape the one hunting him, the one who seeks to turn him into a mindless puppet.

His only allies are his panther and the captivating but callous Alexandra, who promises to restore him to former glory. But can she be trusted?

Is he ready to discover the truth of who he was, and why he’s wanted?

The Thing from the Dread Swamp by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Thing from the Dread Swamp by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

While 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.

The Tentacled Terror by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Tentacled Terror by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

Thurvok, 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.

Elven Doom by Lindsay BurokerElven Doom by Lindsay Buroker:

Dragons make life complicated. Extremely complicated.

After returning from Idaho, I was hoping to have time to figure things out with Zav—also known as Lord Zavryd, the dragon who claimed me as his mate without asking—but the dark elves are up to their old tricks again.

Actually, they’re up to far more deadly tricks, using more powerful magic than I knew existed. I have no idea how I’m going to stop them, but if I can’t, my entire city and everybody I care about could be obliterated.

To make matters worse, Zav’s sister has shown up and is rooting around in my life. His family doesn’t approve of me, and she plans to put an end to our relationship… one way or another.

Dragon Physician by Joyce ChngDragon Physician by Joyce Chng:

Can Jixin succeed in a world of dragon racing run by powerful women? Can he fight the system and fulfil his dream of becoming a dragon rider? Or does he choose instead to be a dragon physician like his mother? Jixin finds his world suddenly changed when Lu Si, the scion of a Rookery owner, takes a shine on him. He is plunged straight into the lucrative world of dragon racing… Will his life change?

 

 

Toga by Karen DiemToga by Karen Diem:

Go home, myths , you’re drunk.

After a magical accident, part-time superhero Zita Garcia and her two closest friends wake up stranded in an ancient Greece that could only have existed if all the myths were real and somewhat inebriated.

Unfortunately, they can only leave with help from the locals, not all of whom are friendly. The dryads are downright deadly, and even the normally chatty centaurs aren’t talking. To convince them to assist, Zita and her friends will have to go questing, just like in all the classic fantasy novels. The ones Zita never bothered to read.

If they win, they’ll get the help they need.

If they don’t, they better get used to togas.

Toga is the fifth in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and includes deliberate historical inaccuracies, immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence.

How to Science Fictionally by Camestros FelaptonHow to Science Fictionally: A User Guide to Made Up Stuff by Camestros Felapton:

How can you make your space ship travel faster than light? How can you make your teleporter work? How are you going to send a message home and how are you going to style your beard? These and many other questions are often badly answered in this compendium of essays from Camestros Felapton. Ranging from flippant to occasionally researched, this book answers all of the least important questions in modern sci-fi.

Essential reading for aspiring science fiction authors.

The necromancer by Rachel FordThe Necromancer by Rachel Ford:

A rash of grave robberies. A cursed barrow. A case that will test the balance between magic and law.

When bodies turn up missing, the mage’s academy assigns the case to Apprentice Idun Wintermoon. With the jarl’s liaison for all things magical, Lissette Forlatt, and her best friend, the giant Njal, they try to track the thief.

But the closer they get to answers, the further away from truth they find themselves. When a series of strange visions brings Lissette to the ruins of the long abandoned goblin kingdom, they descend into a dark and terrible world of magic and secrets.

They’re in a race against time as they try to stop the Necromancer. But to get to her, they have to tread where the dead sleep – or worse, don’t.

And if they’re not careful, they’ll end up forgotten denizens of the undead themselves.

Viper's Nest by Rachel FordViper’s Nest by Rachel Ford:

Banished, shipwrecked and sent to the arenas.

Trygve Bjarneson lost everything. And he deserved it. He knows that. So when he’s given the opportunity to regain some of his honor, and reclaim his life in the process, he takes it.

Little does the once future-king realize that the seemingly straightforward job of bodyguard to Empress Cassia is anything but. Machiavellian politics are just the beginning. He’s about to be plunged into a dark world of bloody murder, grim assassinations, and deadly rivalries. It will take every bit of cunning and ingenuity to protect the empress from her enemies.

But if his foes have their way, he will wish he never made it out of the arenas alive.

Ghostly Business by Lily Harper HartGhostly Business by Lily Harper Hart:

Every “quiet” town has secrets. The one nobody expected is about to rock Whisper Cove.

During what should’ve been a romantic double date, a fire breaks out at a historic home. Harper Harlow and Jared Monroe race to the scene to make sure nobody is trapped or in danger … and discover one heck of a secret.

It seems the house, which was owned by a solitary older woman who kept to herself, was being run as a brothel. Now she’s dead and there’s a bevy of married men on the hot seat for her murder.

Harper has a cantankerous ghost to deal with … and a bevy of odd emotions running roughshod over her mental health. She feels like an invader in her own skin, and she can’t figure out why.

Jared’s problems are even more pronounced. Whenever he questions an individual present at the house that night, they threaten him with a legal suit before clamming up. On top of that, he’s worried about Harper, who seems fixated on the case.

Since the moment they met, they were joined at the hip … and lips. Now, that unshakeable bond they’ve always reveled in is going to be put to the test.

Nothing can break them apart … but that doesn’t mean outside forces won’t try, and they might be willing to kill to do it.

To Love a Witch by Amanda M. LeeTo Love a Witch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is at a crossroads in her life. Her powers are growing, her personal life is settled, and there’s a young witch in crisis under her care.

Things are … difficult.

A good witch at heart, Bay knows that the teenager she’s trying to tame is dangerous. To keep Hemlock Cove safe, she’s isolated her at the campground property she owns with her boyfriend Landon. While visiting one day, a ghost catches her attention across the lake … and when Bay crosses to investigate, she finds a fresh body and a whole lot of trouble.

It seems the new property owner is currently dating the victim’s ex-boyfriend and there’s a convoluted mess to untangle. That’s on top of the other people in town – including Aunt Tillie’s nemesis Mrs. Little – who keep showing up at the lake with an agenda.

Bay has no idea what to do. She needs to keep her teenage protégé hidden while uncovering a deadly story of an affair gone wrong and greed run amok. All the while she wonders what will happen if she can’t turn things around for her new teenage responsibility. What will she have to do to protect the people that she loves?

If that wasn’t enough, Landon is acting out of sorts. His demeanor is strange and he’s having secret conversations with her mother while trying to keep Bay out of his sock drawer. She can’t figure out why and her imagination is running wild.

It’s going to be a race to the finish. There’s an out-of-control ghost, a teenager who doesn’t want to be helped, and a man who has a plan to give his favorite witch everything she’s ever wanted.

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. The big moment is finally here.

The Whisper Killer by Rob LittleThe Whisper Killer by Rod Little:

Wolf Hollow is not like other towns. It gets what it needs.

Ben is a baby-faced serial killer who can charm his victims with a smile. But when he stumbles into Wolf Hollow to hide from the FBI, it’s the town that charms him and convinces him to stay. Because Wolf Hollow gets what it needs, and it needs Ben. It knows his secret.
Ben isn’t alone. He shares his body with a century-old demon. He may be the town’s worst nightmare, but he’s exactly what they need.

Under cover of a blinding snowstorm, a bitter enemy returns to Wolf Hollow, a group of men hell-bent on revenge, resolved to wipe out the entire town and leave no survivors. Only Ben has what it takes to stand in their way . . . if he chooses. He is their only hope.

Because some evils can only be met by a greater evil.

Insurgent by Ken LozitoInsurgent by Ken Lozito:

As Connor secretly searches for the enemy homeworld, he launches clandestine military operations to liberate other worlds in hopes of gaining allies before the enemy can find the last human colony.

The humans cannot hope to compete with the enemy’s vast empire, but with the discovery of a new ally, Connor believes their luck has finally changed.

Instead, when new allies clash with the old, Connor finds himself caught in the middle. Connor will have to choose whether doing what’s necessary to ensure the colony survives is worth compromising his loyalty to allies close to home, but the price could ultimately tear the colony apart.

Surviving a war with the enemy isn’t always a numbers game, but in choosing one ally, will Connor lose it all?

Orion Rises by G.J. OgdenOrion Rises by G.J. Ogden:

Kicked out of the Relic Guardian Force, Hudson Powell has started down the path to becoming a relic hunter. Fortune awaits inside the mysterious, alien hulks found on every planet throughout the vast network of portal worlds. The only problem is, he’s broke and he doesn’t have a starship.

A chance encounter with Liberty Devan – a streetwise, genius ship mechanic – provides him with an unlikely relic-hunting partner. Unfortunately, Hudson’s former RGF boss, Logan Griff, still wants him dead, and Griff has hired two of the galaxy’s deadliest mercenaries to get him.

Fortunately for Hudson, one of them has taken a shine to him.

Fighting to stay one step ahead of Logan Griff, Hudson and Liberty discover the first new portal in a century. But embarking on a relic hunt to a new and unexplored star system, they find an alien intelligence that warns them of a grave threat to humanity.

The secrets of the alien wrecks are about to be uncovered. And it isn’t good news.

Swashbuckling Cats by Rhonda ParrishSwashbuckling Cats, edited by Rhonda Parrish:

If you think cats and water don’t mix, think again.

Plunge into worlds of piratical cats: some selfish, some mischievous, all fond of hitting the catnip stash. From ships on the deep blue sea, to ships flying through the depths of space, and even visiting from beyond the veil, these cats are determined and on a mission.

Featuring thirteen “tails” of adventure-loving cats, puns, and fun by: Megan Fennell; S.G. Wong; Rebecca Brae; Grace Bridges; Lizz Donnelly; Blake Liddell; Frances Pauli; JB Riley; Joseph Halden; Leslie Van Zwol; Krista D. Ball; Chadwick Ginther; Rose Strickman; and Beth Cato.

Zelup by Lisa ProbzZelup by Lisa Probz:

Dawn

Who would have thought it? A one-night stand should have only been one night.

Then the hot guy shows up on my doorstep with a business proposal that stinks more than a Vanfian female in heat.

He’s hiding something. I just didn’t expect it to be an upcoming apocalypse.

I have no choice but to go all in, but the plan is to keep my heart protected from him.

Yeah right. My hormones are leading the way, and this guy isn’t going to let me slip from his grasp that easily.

Zelup

Life is just never easy, is it?

My older brother shacks up with the daughter of a goddess, and all of a sudden, our planet is pushed into an apocalypse.

And I’m forced to hunt down a mythical Guardian to aid us in the fight against the demon host that’s squared off to us.

What I don’t expect in my travels is to fall for a feisty scientist.

She sees through my crap and is hotter than Hades.

But I can’t afford to be distracted.

And yet, that’s exactly what I am. This Guardian can suck it. I’m more interested in convincing Dawn I’m her man, her protector.

Until the Crowned Prince of Hell gets her. His threat?

To erase me from her memory forever.

1910: Love Reaches Through Time by Georgina Rowe1910: Love Reaches Through Time by Georgina Rowe:

Rowena Cutler loves her job as a researcher, delving into the history of her beloved city of Sydney. After one marriage and several failed relationships, she has given up on men and romance, and believes she is happily in control of her life…until a paranormal experience turns her life upside down.

While reading an old newspaper article from 1910, Rowena is flung from the present into the distant past where she experiences the very event she was reading about. She latches onto an object from the past just as she is pulled back to her own time period, and is startled to discover the object has made the trip across time with her!

Shaken but determined, Rowena begins using her newfound gift to solve some century-old mysteries of Sydney. Her extraordinary paranormal adventures have barely begun, however, when she falls desperately in love with a man named Lionel who lived in 1910. Even though he is not fully aware of her presence because he cannot see her, Rowena knows she has finally found the man of her dreams. But if Rowena and Lionel are ever to be together, she realizes she must explore the full extent of her psychic powers, no matter how dangerous the consequences.

Wardtown by Glynn StewartWardtown by Glynn Stewart:

A young man’s anger and gun
An old man’s secrets and magic
A moment that binds them forever

Teer was forced into exile in the Spehari’s Eastern Territories after they betrayed his father’s memory, leaving him and his mother destitute. He has grown up on the ranch of his mother’s new husband, nursing the skills of a cowboy and the anger of a betrayed child.

When one of the demigod-like Spehari walks into his bar, Teer gives in to a pointless moment of anger—opening fire on one of the rulers of the Unity!

Sentenced to hang for his crime, Teer’s life hangs by the slimmest of threads: the mercy and secrets of the very immortal he tried to kill…

Sky of Water by Stacey L. TuckerSky of Water by Stacey L. Tucker:

This final installment of the Equal Night trilogy will put Skylar to her biggest test to date. After Magus takes her through the alchemical door in the Quine library, she quickly remembers her strange surroundings and the reason she’s been brought back to the First Age. Here, she will have to rely on her own magic to navigate the overlapping timelines that will allow her to rewrite history. But if she’s not careful, she could destroy it completely.

Back home, it will take every one of Skylar’s loved ones to execute Ocean’s plan, and Argan has the biggest role among them: the impossible task of retrieving Skylar home from the past. Luckily, it’s something he’s been training for his entire life.

Meanwhile, a woman now sits in the Oval Office, the corrupt scaffolding of the US government collapsing around her. Mica Noxx has a vision for the US, one that returns it to the original intention of the Founding Fathers.

With Skylar held in the First Age and Mica planted in current day, they have one shot to banish the darkness that’s held control for centuries, and return the United States to a trajectory toward its true destiny: becoming the New Atlantis.

Federation at War by James David VictorFederation at War by James David Victor:

An old war is about to undergo an alien transformation.

Alone in the galaxy, humanity has waged war against itself in the name of order and personal freedom. When a new alien threat arrives on their doorstep, they will have to face a reality most don’t believe. They are not alone amongst the stars. And worse, they are far from superior.

Federation At War is the first 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 Federation At War and see if humanity can overcome itself and survive in the vast darkness of space!

Felons in the Eyes of God by Stephen James WrightFelons in the Eyes of God by Stephen James Wright:

The planet Thyrhucis is prosperous and peaceful, governed by a collective of uploaded post-human intelligences called the Necrarchy. Thyrhucis is a nexus for interstellar travel, and governments from all over the galaxy are seeking access to its trade routes.

Christabel Cameron Carrington wants access for the Cultural Revival, a multi-system movement that’s bringing back old Earth cultures. She’s not above using underhand methods, including hacking the planetary data networks, which brings her into direct contact with the Necrarchy itself.

Rethis Veid wants access for the spartan world of Thur, a grim and expansionist state that’s considered suspect by everyone. He’s involving himself with dissident groups, whose concerns about the Necrarchy become disturbingly relevant.

Laura Sabon, light years away, knows nothing about this – her only concern is keeping her decrepit space freighter operational. But she’s drawn into the situation when her ship is chartered to take a cargo to Thyrhucis – a cargo which just might contain the end of interstellar civilization.

The Ninth Knight by Stephen James WrightThe Ninth Knight by Stephen James Wright:

Prosperous and middle-aged, Sir Gaveran yearns for knightly adventure and chivalrous deeds. He persuades seven other knights to meet with him – rich and powerful Garrien, upcoming knight-errant Perinell, poor but honest Calan, aesthetic Lyas, foreigner Rykon, masked and enigmatic Yvon, and ill-omened Alair. Gaveran persuades them all to join him in an oath, to seek adventure in the coming year….

But, as the eight knights swear on their swords, a ninth blade is laid across theirs – and the shadowy figure of the Ninth Knight follows each knight as they quest, observing them and, perhaps, judging them.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 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 April books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, 1930s mysteries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, medical thrillers, action thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, police officers, lawyers, spies, terrorists, drug dealers, yakuza, serial killers, dark secrets, sinister mansions, deadly cruises, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime-busting librarians, crime and murder in Miami, Los Angeles, Louisiana, California, Norfolk, Paris, Columbia, the Panama Canal 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:

The Floating Funeral by Cheri BakerThe Case of the Floating Funeral by Cheri Baker:

Wealthy entrepreneur and famed gambler Morgan Picklewick is dead, and his family and friends are coming aboard the S.V. Adventurous Spirit for the memorial service at sea. As the ship heads to sunny South America, Morgan’s heirs will scatter his ashes in the deep blue waters of the Panama Canal. But not everything is as it seems. Morgan’s business partner and friend, Roberta Crowley, strongly suspects that he was murdered by one of his children.

Did one of Morgan’s children kill their father to avoid being disinherited? As Ellie mingles with the mourners, it seems everyone is hiding a motive or two. Perhaps one of his wealthy business partners saw an opportunity to take a bigger piece of the pie? And what about his ex-wife? Is her diva-like behavior covering a guilty conscience? As Morgan’s heirs prepare to seize their father’s stake in the cruise line, with devastating consequences for the crew, Roberta gives Ellie her most difficult assignment yet: Identify Morgan’s killer before the crew is torn apart and scattered to the four winds, forever.

Death in the Beginning by Beth ByersDeath in the Beginning by Beth Byers:

June 1938

A new baby, an elopement, an unexpected visitor. Georgette Dorothy Aaron and her family of orphans knew it would be an exciting summer, but none of them expected to be drawn into yet another murder investigation.

When they band together, however, surely they can accomplish anything.

 

The Darkest Garden by Stacy ClaflinThe Darkest Garden by Stacy Claflin:

How many secrets can one house hide?

Kenzi Brannon has always dreaded going down to the dark basement of the old Brannon house she grew up in. Now an adult, she’s returned home to find her apprehension has intensified. She avoids that locked door and the secrets beyond in hope that ignoring the problem will keep long-forgotten horrors buried.

A neighbor’s obsession with her house and history has rekindled Kenzi’s old fears. And reconnecting with someone from her past may force her to face what she’s been running from her entire life.

And that might not be the worst of it.

The garden her family is restoring could conceal something far more terrifying than anything inside the house. Something that could rip her newly found family apart.

Some people say the truth will set you free. Kenzi can’t help but feel that it will destroy everything.

When You Star to Miss Me by Stacy ClaflinWhen You Start to Miss Me by Stacy Claflin:

She’s there for everyone. But who’s there for her?

Malia is the glue that holds her dysfunctional family together. Her two brothers need constant attention, the family business drains her, and her narcissistic parents are on the verge of divorce. All that leaves her little time for herself. But when her brother nearly dies in her arms, she’s terrified she isn’t enough to save him.

Then Lincoln walks into her life at that crucial moment.

Linc’s got real pain in his past, pain that’s made him harden his heart. Even so, he can’t walk away from Malia—not the night he meets her, and not afterward. She might just be the thing that helps him risk love again.

But Malia has secrets that make her try to push him away, secrets some people would do anything to protect. When Linc forces them to light, he puts her in jeopardy, making him once again face the fear of losing someone he loves. And this time, he doesn’t think he can survive it.

Kill Our Sins by J.M. DalglieshKill Our Sins by J.M. Dalgliesh:

What would you do to keep your past a secret?

When the mutilated remains of a woman are retrieved by local fishermen, it falls to DI Tom Janssen and his team to identify how she came to be in the water and what put her there. Joined on the case by his new permanent boss, DCI Tamara Greave, it remains to be proven if the woman’s death was as a result of foul play or a tragic accident.

The victim carried no means of identification, was poorly dressed for the winter and horribly disfigured when pulled from the water. As the case progresses old ghosts return to haunt those living in the present. Matters thought settled a long time ago face intense scrutiny… attention that some hoped would never come to pass. When childhood friends begin to question one another, suddenly the long forgotten past comes to the fore.

The misadventure of youth can have grave consequences. No matter how much time passes nor how deep you bury them, your sins will always return to haunt you. But who has the most to lose and what else are they willing to sacrifice in order to keep what they have? Is someone prepared to kill for their sins?

Janssen must reveal and catch a killer without a conscience before they strike again…

The Man Who Never Was by Mark DawsonThe Man Who Never Was by Mark Dawson:

Can the man who never was catch the criminals who never get caught?

John Milton is used to operating in the shadows, weaving his way through dangerous places behind a fake identity. Now, to avenge the death of a close friend, he must wear his mask of deception once more.

Beau Baxter was brutally murdered by a drugs cartel but that doesn’t stop Milton from blaming himself for his friend’s death. With the help of a trusted team of undercover experts and Beau’s son, Milton is determined to track down the killers. And he isn’t just after the man who gave the order. He’s heading right for the top.

Milton plans to follow the trail of cocaine from the nightclubs of Amsterdam all the way to its source in Colombia. Disguised as an ambitious buyer, he’s prepared to work his way up the cartel hierarchy one rung at a time. But the ladder can be slippery and, as Milton travels deeper into a world of violence, ruthlessness and greed, he finds himself in a jungle that could prove impossible to escape.

Bullets and Beads by Jana DeLeonBullets and Beads by Jana DeLeon:

Let the good times roll?

It’s Mardi Gras time and Fortune is looking forward to seeing the spectacle firsthand, but when a visitor to Sinful is murdered during the celebration there, Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie can’t help but wonder what happened. As they start looking into the woman and the family in Sinful she came to visit, their investigation sends them to New Orleans, right at the height of the Mardi Gras celebration. But instead of relaxing a little and enjoying the festivities, Fortune can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched.

When she catches sight of her father in the Mardi Gras crowd, she knows why.

Unfortunately, her father’s presence in Louisiana has brought with it a host of terrorists, all with only one thing in mind—locate and terminate Dwight Redding. Can Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie manage to evade the killers long enough to figure out why Dwight has returned from the dead? And will knowing the answer make things worse or better?

Ghostly Business by Lily Harper HartGhostly Business by Lily Harper Hart:

Every “quiet” town has secrets. The one nobody expected is about to rock Whisper Cove.

During what should’ve been a romantic double date, a fire breaks out at a historic home. Harper Harlow and Jared Monroe race to the scene to make sure nobody is trapped or in danger … and discover one heck of a secret.

It seems the house, which was owned by a solitary older woman who kept to herself, was being run as a brothel. Now she’s dead and there’s a bevy of married men on the hot seat for her murder.

Harper has a cantankerous ghost to deal with … and a bevy of odd emotions running roughshod over her mental health. She feels like an invader in her own skin, and she can’t figure out why.

Jared’s problems are even more pronounced. Whenever he questions an individual present at the house that night, they threaten him with a legal suit before clamming up. On top of that, he’s worried about Harper, who seems fixated on the case.

Since the moment they met, they were joined at the hip … and lips. Now, that unshakeable bond they’ve always reveled in is going to be put to the test.

Nothing can break them apart … but that doesn’t mean outside forces won’t try, and they might be willing to kill to do it.

Imminent Harm by Robin JamesImminent Harm by Robin James:

Her reputation is on the line. A woman’s life is in danger. Can she stop them both from flatlining?

Lawyer Cass Leary is desperate for a break from her family drama. And when a local judge asks for help protecting his sister from domestic abuse, she sees an opportunity to resurrect her career. But the case quickly turns ugly when her client vanishes without a trace.

Convinced the volatile husband is behind the disappearance, Cass doubles down on her frantic search. But she’s unprepared for the tragic twist that could upend the entire Delphi court system…

With powerful figures circling, can Cass expose the shocking truth before her voice is silenced?

Imminent Harm is the sixth book in the high-octane Cass Leary Legal Thriller Series. If you like strong female leads, gripping courtroom conflict, and page-turning suspense, then you’ll love Robin James’s riveting novel.

To Love a Witch by Amanda M. LeeTo Love a Witch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is at a crossroads in her life. Her powers are growing, her personal life is settled, and there’s a young witch in crisis under her care.

Things are … difficult.

A good witch at heart, Bay knows that the teenager she’s trying to tame is dangerous. To keep Hemlock Cove safe, she’s isolated her at the campground property she owns with her boyfriend Landon. While visiting one day, a ghost catches her attention across the lake … and when Bay crosses to investigate, she finds a fresh body and a whole lot of trouble.

It seems the new property owner is currently dating the victim’s ex-boyfriend and there’s a convoluted mess to untangle. That’s on top of the other people in town – including Aunt Tillie’s nemesis Mrs. Little – who keep showing up at the lake with an agenda.

Bay has no idea what to do. She needs to keep her teenage protégé hidden while uncovering a deadly story of an affair gone wrong and greed run amok. All the while she wonders what will happen if she can’t turn things around for her new teenage responsibility. What will she have to do to protect the people that she loves?

If that wasn’t enough, Landon is acting out of sorts. His demeanor is strange and he’s having secret conversations with her mother while trying to keep Bay out of his sock drawer. She can’t figure out why and her imagination is running wild.

It’s going to be a race to the finish. There’s an out-of-control ghost, a teenager who doesn’t want to be helped, and a man who has a plan to give his favorite witch everything she’s ever wanted.

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. The big moment is finally here.

The Whisper Killer by Rob LittleThe Whisper Killer by Rod Little:

Wolf Hollow is not like other towns. It gets what it needs.

Ben is a baby-faced serial killer who can charm his victims with a smile. But when he stumbles into Wolf Hollow to hide from the FBI, it’s the town that charms him and convinces him to stay. Because Wolf Hollow gets what it needs, and it needs Ben. It knows his secret.
Ben isn’t alone. He shares his body with a century-old demon. He may be the town’s worst nightmare, but he’s exactly what they need.

Under cover of a blinding snowstorm, a bitter enemy returns to Wolf Hollow, a group of men hell-bent on revenge, resolved to wipe out the entire town and leave no survivors. Only Ben has what it takes to stand in their way . . . if he chooses. He is their only hope.

Because some evils can only be met by a greater evil.

The White Death by Willow MorganThe White Death by Willow Morgan:

It’s Tessa Newbridge’s first ever live fire exercise as a Cadet in the LAPD Police Academy. She’s certain to graduate. She just has to get through the sealed course she’s been through five times before—without live fire.

Running out of ammunition with the exit in sight, she’s ready to finish the course when, out of nowhere, two strange men jump the fence into her line of fire.

That startling incident spins Tessa off into a nightmare whirlwind of danger, intrigue, and mystery that could blow her whole world apart, to say nothing of the country itself.

Nothing and no one is what she thought they were and hidden enemies and unknown allies emerge from every side.

Can she dig deep enough to find the resources within herself to overcome all the forces closing in around her, or will they destroy her and everything she holds dear?

Death Trap by Willow MorganDeath Trap by Willow Morgan:

By some miracle, Tessa Newbridge somehow survives the terrible car accident escaping the White Death Yakuza. Now she’s a sitting duck in a hospital bed with nothing and no one to stop the assassins finding her.

LAPD doesn’t seem to notice or care that the most dangerous crime syndicate on the planet wants her dead, and where is Leon Griggs, the hero Detective who saved her life?

Are the very Police officials assigned to protect her erasing the evidence that a tattooed member of the Yakuza is about to be elected President of the United States?

Tessa can forget about saving the world from impending disaster. She’s got her hands full just making it through the next few hours before her enemies finally catch up with her and she might not be the only one who pays the price.

Can she escape from this death trap before time runs out for her and those she loves?

Murder at the Fashion House by Sonia ParinMurder at the Fashion House by Sonia Parin:

Evie, Countess of Woodridge, is on a mission to rescue her favorite modiste from the consequences of an unfavorable review. Her quest is a timely diversion as her granny, Toodles, appears to be suffering from a case of restlessness.

All goes well until Evie’s public clash with the journalist responsible for the article is followed by the journalist’s death. The circumstances are suspicious and the police is warning Evie to stay away from the case.

While she is happy to comply with the detective’s request, the killer has other ideas and goes one step too far…

Never Walk Alone by Willow RoseNever Walk Alone by Willow Rose:

The world is on lockdown due to a virus that originated in Miami.

A woman is kidnapped from her apartment, and Detective Harry Hunter is on the case.

At the same time, his sister shows up after they haven’t seen each other in a year.

As it turns out, Harry’s sister knows more about the virus than she lets on. Soon, he wonders if the virus is connected to the missing woman.

As he digs deeper into the strange mystery, he realizes his sister’s life is in great danger, and so is his.

Bedlam by L.J. RossBedlam by L.J. Ross:

In a world gone mad, who can you trust?

Fresh from a high-profile case in the Paris fashion world, elite forensic psychologist and criminal profiler Dr Alexander Gregory receives a call from the New York State Homicide Squad. The wife of a notorious criminal has been admitted to a private psychiatric hospital and can no longer testify in his upcoming trial. Without her, their case will collapse but, amidst reports that the staff are as unpredictable as their patients, who can the police trust?

In desperation, they turn to an outsider and now Gregory must find the courage to step inside the fortified walls of Buchanan Hospital to uncover the truth. The question is, will he ever be the same again?

Murder and mystery are peppered with dark humour in this fast-paced thriller set amidst the spectacular Catskill Forest.

Blood Family by Jacqueline SeewaldBlood Family by Jacqueline Seewald:

In Jacqueline Seewald’s fifth Kim Reynolds Mystery, Kim, an academic librarian, is intent on locating her biological father, James Shaw. Unfortunately after finding him, he dies unexpectedly. It is up to Kim to connect with the family she has never known. In doing so, she discovers a half-sister who is in need of her help. Kim is concerned that Claire Shaw is being exploited, and Kim wants to help her however she can. Kim then learns that Claire’s stepmother also died under mysterious circumstances, and her stepbrother disappeared. Once Kim becomes involved, she quickly realizes her own life is now in danger. With Kim’s fiancé, Lieutenant Mike Gardner, Wilson Township homicide detective, investigating along with Sergeant Bert St. Croix, the race is on to catch a killer that is now intent on adding Kim to the list of deceased.

Murder at the Bomb Shelter by Lee and Norm StraussMurder at the Bomb Shelter by Lee and Norm Strauss:

Murder’s a blast!

Rosa Reed’s holiday with the Forester Family in Santa Bonita has turned into an extended stay, and Rosa decides to make use of her Metropolitan Police training and sets up a private investigative business ~ just like her mother! But she finds she’s not the only one who keeps business in the family, and when one of the members of the prestigious Gainer family is found dead in his bomb shelter, Rosa is invited to take on the case ~ much to Detective Miguel Belmonte’s chagrin. If Rosa doesn’t find the killer soon, the summer of ’56 just might be her last.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for April 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 March 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, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, horror, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, YA science fiction, time travel, Steampunk, werewolves, wizards, angels, demons, dragons, pirates of space and of the sea, crime-busting witches, revolutionary witches, rebellious numbers, usurper kings, space marines, supernatural prisons, moon goddesses, teens lost in space 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 Usurper by James AlderdiceThe Usurper by James Alderdice:

Introducing the Usurper King…And the Road to the Crown is paved in blood…

The Fates weave a tapestry of life and death for young Gathelaus the Sellsword. Now an unexpected opportunity presents itself for the famed mercenary, he has but to claim the blood red crown…

But once you wear the crown, how long can you hold it until that power is turned against you? Follow Gathelaus on a journey through a life of magic, action and intrigue; battling gods and monsters across a mystic realm …

The Usurper is an action-packed heroic adventure in the vein of classic pulp fiction and heroic fantasy. If you like Conan the Barbarian, The Witcher and Logen Ninefingers along with vengeful sorcery, savage duels, larger-than-life characters, and witty humor, then you’ll love James Alderdice’s barbaric tale.

Ever by Odette C. BellEver by Odette C. Bell:

When the future is broken, the present becomes all we have left….

Genevieve wakes in a broken future. Cryogenically frozen in the hopes that one day her illness will be cured, she awakens to find she was never sick. Her disease is a power – one of the greatest in the galaxy. All will fight to control her, and they will bring the Milky Way to the brink of total destruction.

There’s only man who can save her and everyone else – not that he knows it. A transport captain with a rocky past, Scott will have to find the good in his heart before he can rise to the occasion.

Home Front by Lindsay BurokerHome Front by Lindsay Buroker:

Casmir and his allies have struck a devastating blow to the powerful prince who sent invaders into their star system, but war still rages at home. Worse, the prince has escaped with a lethal bioweapon, and he intends to wipe out all human life on Odin. Casmir could lose his parents, his friends, and everyone he holds dear.

On top of all that, the Kingdom fleet commander Jorg has captured two of Casmir’s friends to ensure his “compliance.” But Jorg wants a bioweapon of his own as well as the deadly crushers that Casmir has made. To side with him would be to side with the devil. But if Casmir doesn’t… he may never see his friends alive again.

Tangled Truths by Lindsay BurokerTangled Truths by Lindsay Buroker:

Dealing with dragons is hard. Dealing with a teenage daughter is even harder.

My new mission involves both. Weird things are happening in Northern Idaho, and my boss is sending me to investigate. Unfortunately, my daughter and ex-husband are vacationing in the town that’s at the center of the trouble. Coincidence? Or is someone targeting them to get at me?

I’m a wanted woman right now. Not only by the criminal werewolves, orcs, and trolls that I’m often hired to kill. But by the Dragon Justice Court.

An organization full of arrogant, powerful dragons is exactly as horrible as it sounds. They’re the last beings you’d want after your family. If I can’t get to the bottom of the mystery and convince the dragons I’m not their enemy, I stand to lose far more than my own life.

Boneshaker by Joshua DalzelleBoneshaker by Joshua Dalzelle:

Marine First Lieutenant Jacob Brown is bored.

For months he’s been sitting around on an alien planet, waiting for command to recall his scout team so they could rest and be re-outfitted. The team went through hell during their previous mission, losing both their commanding officer and their ship. For now, Jacob was acting CO of Scout Team Obsidian and their ship was a broken down old surplus combat shuttle they’d stolen from narco-smugglers on a planet called Niceen-3.

When command finally does reach out, however, it isn’t to order Obsidian home for some much needed R&R. Instead, they are being reactivated and sent out into the contested space of the recently conquered Eshquarian Empire to track down a single Terran cruiser called the Eagle’s Talon.

The Talon’s captain has gone rogue and is operating within a fleet of ships bent on open rebellion against the quadrant’s only remaining superpower. If that ship is discovered within the rebel fleet, Earth will bear the brunt of the ConFed’s reprisal. Jacob’s team is in a race against time to locate the missing ship and her rogue captain so that a Navy strike force can swoop in and reclaim her… or destroy her.

The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper by A.J. FitzwaterThe Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper by A.J. Fitzwater:

Dapper. Lesbian. Capybara. Pirate.
Cinrak the Dapper is a keeper of secrets, a righter of wrongs, the saltiest capybara on the sea and a rider of both falling stars and a great glass whale. Join her, her beloveds, the rat Queen Orvilia and the marmot diva Loquolchi, lead soprano of the Theatre Rat-oyal, her loyal cabin kit, Benj the chinchilla, and Agnes, last of the great krakens, as they hunt for treasures of all kinds and find adventures beyond their wildest dreams. Let Sir Julius Vogel Award-winning storyteller A.J. Fitzwater take you on a glorious journey about finding yourself, discovering true love and found family, and exploring the greatest secrets of the deep. Also, dapperness.

The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper includes seven stories about Cinrak and her crew:
•“Young Cinrak”
•“Perfidy at the Felidae Isles
•“The Wild Ride of the Untamed Stars”
•“Search for the Heart of the Ocean”
•“The Hirsute Pursuit”
•“Cetaceous Secrets of the Jewelled Nadit”
•“Flight of the Hydro Chorus”

Witch Confidential by Lily Harper HartWitch Confidential by Lily Harper Hart:

The Big Easy is about to be buried in big trouble.
Again.

For Ofelia Archer, that means she’s knee-deep in an investigation … even though she’s not quite sure how she got there.

Zach Sully thinks he’s in for an easy night at Ofelia’s speakeasy – maybe a little flirting as a lead-up to a date included – when a scream in a neighboring abandoned building draws his attention. Upon further investigation, he finds a young woman dead and a real estate developer traumatized.

The dead girl is a street performer who lived on the edge. That’s bad enough, but when voices from the past cause Ofelia to break open a wall, they find more bodies … and a mystery more than ten years in the making.

The new murder mimics the old deaths, but who are the girls in the wall? Ofelia was a child when stories of street girls going missing were prevalent … and then Hurricane Katrina hit and people forgot their fear in the face of a life-changing storm.

Now, all these years later, Ofelia and Sully are determined to uncover what happened then, tie it to what’s happening today, and find vengeance for all of the victims in the here and now.

That’s easier said than done.

There’s a malevolent force stalking the French Quarter and Ofelia suddenly finds herself in the killer’s path. Someone wants to keep a secret, and he or she is willing to kill to make sure that the past stays buried.

Can Ofelia and Sully evade a killer and uncover the truth? It will be a race to the finish to find out.

Broomstick by A.L. HawkeBroomstick by A.L. Hawke:

I used to not believe in witches.

Until I enrolled in Dr. Alondra Johansen’s metaphysical history class. Bryce, Alondra’s super cute teaching assistant, told me my element sign is Earth. I am, in fact, a pragmatic sort of girl. My name is Cadence Hawthorne, but you can call me Katie.

Darkness fell over me and my family during my sophomore year. I thought maybe Alondra could help me with my grief and visions of ghosts. But there was this guy working with her, with a goatee and sardonic smile, who looked more like the devil than a professor. He did terrible things to my best friend, threatening my growing love for Bryce.

Do you believe in ghosts? How ‘bout witches? I do. See, it was at Hawthorne University that I learned all about them. Come take a look in my grimoire. I wrote it all down here in Broomstick.

Content warning: Broomstick is a new adult college paranormal romance containing profanity, sexual scenes, adult situations, and, of course, witchcraft.

Velocities by Kathe KojaVelocities: Stories by Kathe Koja:

From the award-winning author of The Cipher and Buddha Boy, comes Velocities, Kathe Koja’s second electrifying collection of short fiction. Thirteen stories, two never before published, all flying at the speed of strange.

 

 

 

 

Fate of Wizardoms by Jeffrey L. KohanekFate of Wizardoms by Jeffrey L. Kohanek:

1,000 pages of magic, adventure, & intrigue. Where wizards rule, magic reigns supreme.

Power. The ambitious thirst for it. But when a power-hungry wizard lord seeks to expand his rule, he triggers events unforeseen.

The balance of magic is altered, races of old return, and beasts of legend stalk the land.

A squad of unlikely heroes armed with magical objects are drawn into the conflict:

Jerrell “Jace” – A clever thief whose outrageous exploits force him to hide his identity.
Narine – A wizardess caught between her mad wizard lord father and jealous brother.
Rhoa – A determined acrobat, armed with enchanted blades and a thirst for revenge.
Rawk – Exiled for urges he cannot control, this dwarf possesses unique magic abilities.
Brogan – Once a renowned warrior, he labors beneath the weight of his regrets.

These characters lead a compelling and memorable cast including ruthless wizards who vie for thrones able to grant the power of a god.
How do you defeat a god?

Sinfully Delicious by Amanda M. LeeSinfully Delicious by Amanda M. Lee:

Stormy Morgan left her hometown of Shadow Hills, Michigan, with one goal: to write the great American novel and strike it rich. She sold her novel not long after college, did relatively well, and then fell off a cliff into obscurity. Now, without a book contract, she’s back at her family restaurant in a one-stoplight town … and she’s convinced things couldn’t possibly get worse.

That feeling only lasts until her first shift, when on a trip to the storage building behind the restaurant, she literally trips over a body.

Roy Axe, Shadow Hills most hated “Axehole,” died a hard death only feet from the restaurant (and the second-floor apartment Stormy currently resides in). The detective on the case is none other than Hunter Ryan, Stormy’s high school boyfriend, and the man who occasionally still calls to her in dreams. Hunter only cares about solving a mystery – nothing else – so their reunion is tense.

In an attempt to distract herself from what’s happening, Stormy and her cousin Alice get drunk one night and pull out their great-grandmother’s old Ouija board, and it sets off a strange string of events, most of which seem magical … if you believe in that sort of thing, and Stormy isn’t sure she does.

Stormy has trouble deciding which problem to focus on, so she avoids them all until things start blowing up in her face.

Shadow Hills is a small town but the secrets that plague it run deep. Stormy is a woman – or maybe a witch – lost in a sea of magic and despair … but murder might just lead her out of it. That is if she can survive to solve the case, that is.

Kitra by Gideon MarcusKitra by Gideon Marcus:

Stranded in space: no fuel, no way home…and no one coming to help.Nineteen-year-old Kitra Yilmaz dreams of traveling the galaxy like her Ambassador mother. But soaring in her glider is the closest she can get to touching the stars–until she stakes her inheritance on a salvage Navy spaceship.On its shakedown cruise, Kitra’s ship plunges into hyperspace, stranding Kitra and her crew light years away. Tensions rise between Kitra and her shipmates: the handsome programmer, Fareedh; Marta, biologist and Kitra’s ex-girlfriend; Peter, the panicking engineer, and the oddball alien navigator, Pinky.Now, running low on air and food, it’ll take all of them working together to get back home.

Ex Nihilo by Nazri NoorEx Nihilo by Nazri Noor:

In the beginning…

Mason Albrecht was a regular kid until the day he turned eighteen, when golden flames seared holy sigils into his skin, when the angels came to exterminate him. The demons came not long after, hungry for a taste of his nephilim flesh.

Fighting off heaven and hell with his bizarre new gifts, Mason speeds towards the only beacon his awakened eyes can see in a world gone mad: a pillar of light emanating from a distant city, where he may yet find sanctuary… or certain doom.

Ex Nihilo is the prequel to the Sins of the Father urban fantasy series, from Nazri Noor, author of the Darkling Mage saga. Experience Mason’s awakening in Ex Nihilo, a humorous, high-impact supernatural suspense story filled with demons, divinity, and plenty of danger.

QUARN by D. RomanQUARN by D. Roman:

On August 5th, 2044, humanity will learn that the number of things we take for granted is almost as limitless as the hubris that guides us.

 

 

 

 

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

In the shadows, treachery and betrayal grow unseen.

The state funeral of Princess Olivia at Port Ruth marks the end of the Queen of the Desert’s reign of terror. As Lucinda, Magda and Ascara attend this grand ceremony, all is not as it seems. A storm of secrets and lies emerge from the shadows and the darkness threatens to destroy them all.

No matter where Magda goes, her heritage calls to her. Even when they make their way home, peace and safety are still not theirs. Malice and betrayal, hidden and out of sight, finds the three women and threatens to pull them under the waves of death and pain once more.

For the Trinity of Truth: Raven, Fire and Ice, there can be only one way forward, but at what price?

This is the third in the Towers of the Earth fantasy adventure series.

Beneath Black Sails by Clare SagerBeneath Black Sails by Clare Sager:

Sometimes it takes a pirate to catch a pirate.

With weather magic on her side, Lady Vice is the bane of the high seas, but she isn’t captain of her own ship. Yet. If she can persuade her captain to give her a command, she’ll be in charge of her own fate.

To pay off his family’s debts, Knigh Blackwood hunts pirates for the Royal Navy. And he’s damn good at it. When the bounty on Lady Vice increases, he’s determined to make her face justice, even if that means using unorthodox methods.

Forced to work together, neither can deny their mutual attraction. As they face battles at sea and schemes amongst their crew, they discover hints about a long-lost treasure that could be the answer to both their problems.

But treasure isn’t the only thing buried. Secrets best-forgotten lie in wait that could blast them apart. And the closer Vice and Knigh grow, the greater the threat – to her freedom and to his family. Because for one to succeed, the other must fail.

Arrested by Magic by Avery SongArrested by Magic by Avery Song:

Homeless at the age of twelve. Misfit among my peers at sixteen. Unemployed by eighteen. I have bad luck, but never thought I’d be in handcuffs by the golden age of twenty.

Some would blame the universe for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I know better. So does the Alpha wolf hidden inside me. Our potential is massive, but we can’t get a bloody break in a world full of crime, corruption, and hate…and someone did this to us on purpose.

Misfits like me often fall into traps made by higher shifters, and this is no exception. Five supernatural beings hold the key to my shackles, intent in the belief that my wolf holds the key to something powerful…something lethal.

They may be right.

Imprisonment is inevitable, but behind bars, a new world is waiting for me. One where captivity can be a blessing in disguise, creating the opportunity for my wounded walls to crumble in total submission.

I’m ready for it all. I’ll be a misfit no more. I will rise, and those responsible for my captivity will receive capital punishment at my paws.

Relics of Eternity by Glynn StewartRelics of Eternity by Glynn Stewart:

The edge of Imperial expansion
Far from Earth and the other homeworlds
Here lie the secrets of ancient gods
Here…there be dragons

Seeking to escape the shadow of Annette Bond’s success, Captain Morgan Casimir has taken a posting on the far side of the A!Tol Imperium. Here she hopes to begin a legend for herself that stands apart from her stepmother, the Duchess.

A chance encounter introduces her to the xenoarchaeologist Rin Dunst—and to the strange mystery cult that tried to silence him. There are darker secrets in these stars than the A!Tol and their human allies ever guessed…and if they can’t find answers, the Precursors’ mistakes might yet destroy the galaxy.

Again.

Access Point by David StormAccess Point by David Storm:

Ford’s life used to be simple. Travel the post-apocalyptic wasteland, find parts to repair the only working computer in the world, dodge roving marauders, rinse, and repeat. But he is getting a little long in the tooth and life after the end of the world can be hard on the young and old alike. During one journey he comes across a teenage girl named Apinya who enlists him to rescue her captured tribe. He doesn’t want to help but something tells him that this girl, and the USB drive hanging around her neck, may have answers to the questions that have plagued him his entire life. Where did the people who lived here before go? How did their world end? And more importantly, will it happen again?

Time Grab by Al TraverskyTime Grab by Al Traversky:

What if you were told you could re-write your past to solve the problems of your present life and save your future?

Farah Wendell is scared. Her life is falling apart. She’s started waking up in increasingly terrifying and dangerous situations with no memory of how she got there and no understanding of why these events are happening.

She’s desperate to find out the cause and to put a stop to it.

And then a mysterious visitor appears to offer Farah hope.

But could you trust a stranger who says that the solution to your problems lies in lucid dreams, time travel and telepathy? Or when they tell you the cause of this new horror in your life is a sadistic psychopathic killer from a dystopian future?

Can Farah channel her inner female heroine to save her family and her own future?

The Witch and the Revolution by Daniel SugarThe Witch and the Revolution by Daniel Sugar:

As the Tsar’s subjects turn against him, Lilly Parris races to save Anastasia Romanov and her brother Alexis – the heir to the Russian throne.

The Witch and the Revolution is a fast-paced, brand-new take on the Russian Revolution.

 

 

 

Fallen Earth by James David VictorFallen Earth by James David Victor:

Sometimes you just have to go back to where the problem all started to find a solution

The Earth has been lost to time, but there are those that believe it is the key to the future. When Anders, Dalia, and their team bet the fate of the galaxy, it becomes their only chance at survival. Can humanities ancient home save their future or will mankind fall the same way Earth did so many centuries ago?

Fallen Earth is the eighth book in the Memories of Earth space opera series. If you enjoy stories in fantastic worlds of aliens, space travel, and genetic engineering, the Memories of Earth series will be right up your alley.

Arterial Bloom by Mercedes M. YardleyArterial Bloom, edited by Mercedes M. Yardley:

Lush. Brutal.
Beautiful. Visceral.

Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.

Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring 16 stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.

With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.

The line-up includes:
The Stone Door by Jimmy Bernard
Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog by Grant Longstaff
Kudzu Stories by Linda J. Marshall
Dead Letters by Christopher Barzak
The Darker Side of Grief by Naching T. Kassa
Welcome to My Autumn by Daniel Crow
Still Life by Kelli Owen
Three Masks by Armand Rosamilia
Doodlebug by John Boden
Happy Pills by Todd Keisling
What Remained of Her by Jennifer Loring
Blue Was Her Favorite Color by Dino Parenti
In the Loop by Ken Liu
The Making of Mary by Steven Pirie
Mouths Filled with Sea Water by Jonathan Cosgrove
Rotten by Carina Bissett

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for April 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 March 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, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mystries, 1950s mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, spy thrillers, action thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, noir, private investigators, amateur sleuths, police officers, district attorneys, spies, assassins, terrorists, industrial espionage, domestic abuse, little doubts, shocking confessions, crime-busting witches, crime-busting socialites, crime and murder in New Orleans, Michigan, California, Yorkshire, Edinburgh, the Hamptons, the Lake District 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 by Twilight by Blythe BakerMurder by Twilight by Blythe Baker:

When Alice Beckingham answers an urgent summons to her sister’s home in Yorkshire, she has no idea what dangers are in store for her. From the moment she crosses the threshold, she is enveloped in the same sinister shadows that seem to lie like a mist over the surrounding moorlands.

Determined to discover who is behind an attempt on her sister’s life, Alice soon finds herself doubting everyone around her, even her most reliable allies. Without her clever cousin Rose or the protective Sherborne Sharp on hand, can Alice put together the pieces of the haunting puzzle in time to save those dearest to her?

Murder Most Odd by Beth ByersA Murder Most Odd by Beth Byers:

June 1926

Violet and Jack are the matron of honor and best man at Rita and Ham’s wedding. Rita’s father is so excited, he’s bought the couple a country house near Vi’s and arranged a several day long celebration culminating in a wedding, wedding breakfast, and wedding ball.

On the first day, there is a large picnic in the ruins near the house. One the second day, there is a snipe hunt and the winner receives a shocking prize. On the third day, the bright young winner falls dead in his soup. Who would kill the lively young man? And why?

Nomad by Mark CheyenneNomad by Mark Cheyenne:

He doesn’t have a name. He doesn’t have any friends or family. He is a man without a past.

His codename is Nomad. And he is an assassin. He works for the Syndicate: a mysterious international organization whose main objective is to hunt down and eliminate warlords, terrorist leaders, crime bosses, and other wicked persons the world could do without.

After Nomad eliminates his last target, a male assassin gets on his tail. He is as skillful and dangerous as Nomad himself.

Who is he? Why is the assassin after Nomad? Who hired him? Who wants him dead? Is it the Syndicate? If the answer is yes, then for what reason has the organization put him on its assassination list?

Nomad has a lot of questions and no answers. But he knows one thing for sure: the mysterious assassin is getting closer and closer.

8 Tales of Noir by J. David Core8 Tales of Noir by J. David Core:

8 Tales of Noir is just what the title would lead you to expect, eight stories about the darker side of the human condition. Six short stories lead in to two novella-length tales.

Two desperate men at a standoff on a residential inner-city street…

A high school prank with unexpected – and deadly – results…

When you grab the wife of a small-time construction company owner for ransom, make sure he’s not from the family…or smarter than you….

A man intent on collecting a debt…

A heist gone wrong…

A prodigal son whose sins follow him home…

A moment of reckless anger puts a sad-sack on the wrong side of the law and leads to an unexpected comradeship with the forlorn bounty hunter sent to bring him in…

Finally, a high school dean, a construction worker, and an off-duty cop head out for a night on the prowl. When each agrees to seek out and introduce another of the trio to his ideal woman, only the annoying fly that keeps buzzing the table is privy to all the behind-the-scenes goings-on in this quirky black comedy.

Betrayal by Adam CroftBetrayal by Adam Croft:

In Edinburgh, the British Prime Minister prepares to launch a worldwide project to tackle climate change. But there’s a far more sinister motivation behind her plans.

After successfully thwarting a terrorist attack in London a few months earlier, Sam Barker is tasked with investigating a scheme which will turn his life — and the world — upside down.

As he delves deeper into the network of players, Sam uncovers a conspiracy which leads to the one person he loves the most — his son.

But in revealing the facts, Sam risks flushing out a far more sinister, unknown enemy — a rogue agent inside The Firm who will stop at nothing to stop Sam from exposing the truth.

The District Attorney by John EllsworthThe District Attorney by John Ellsworth:

Have you ever tried to outrun a past that was always ahead of you?

Meet Assistant District Attorney Lettie Portman, a prosecutor whose past tries to run her todays. The sex crimes prosecutor didn’t get into sex crimes by accident: her own past demanded it. When a fourteen-year-old girl is savagely attacked by mother’s live-in boyfriend, Lettie is called to the hospital. There, she meets a sweet young girl whose only goal is to go to school and come home to a safe environment. But mom’s boyfriend makes the girl’s world anything but safe. Soon, the abuse gets worse and Lettie, the prosecutor, goes to the grand jury with the case.

Will Lettie’s own past interfere with her prosecution of San Diego’s Terrible Man of the Year? Will she be able to make peace with her own abuse and move on to become the hard-hitting prosecutor the young girl deserves right now?

Lettie Portman is a woman you won’t ever forget, as you join with her in her march to freedom from her past. A John Ellsworth legal thriller by the master of the genre.

Witch Confidential by Lily Harper HartWitch Confidential by Lily Harper Hart:

The Big Easy is about to be buried in big trouble.
Again.

For Ofelia Archer, that means she’s knee-deep in an investigation … even though she’s not quite sure how she got there.

Zach Sully thinks he’s in for an easy night at Ofelia’s speakeasy – maybe a little flirting as a lead-up to a date included – when a scream in a neighboring abandoned building draws his attention. Upon further investigation, he finds a young woman dead and a real estate developer traumatized.

The dead girl is a street performer who lived on the edge. That’s bad enough, but when voices from the past cause Ofelia to break open a wall, they find more bodies … and a mystery more than ten years in the making.

The new murder mimics the old deaths, but who are the girls in the wall? Ofelia was a child when stories of street girls going missing were prevalent … and then Hurricane Katrina hit and people forgot their fear in the face of a life-changing storm.

Now, all these years later, Ofelia and Sully are determined to uncover what happened then, tie it to what’s happening today, and find vengeance for all of the victims in the here and now.

That’s easier said than done.

There’s a malevolent force stalking the French Quarter and Ofelia suddenly finds herself in the killer’s path. Someone wants to keep a secret, and he or she is willing to kill to make sure that the past stays buried.

Can Ofelia and Sully evade a killer and uncover the truth? It will be a race to the finish to find out.

Rich by Janet Elizabeth HendersonRich by Janet Elizabeth Henderson:

She has secrets, and he has the training to uncover them.

Rachel Ford-Talbot has nothing to do with her family or their pharmaceutical business. And she likes it that way. As one of four partners who own an internationally renowned security business, Rachel prefers to leave her past, with all its secrets, deeply buried.

But when a series of thefts reveal that the family business is being targeted for industrial espionage, her father begs Rachel to investigate. His illness makes it hard for her to refuse, but Rachel wonders if he truly understands what he’s unleashing on his company. Because she isn’t the same bright-eyed graduate that walked through their doors years earlier. Now, she’s strong, powerful, and somewhat terrifying. A woman who doesn’t suffer fools lightly and who is afraid of nothing.

She also isn’t alone.

This time, she has the might and expertise of Benson Security at her back. And an ex-CIA agent at her side—because Michael “Harvard” Carter has appointed himself her bodyguard for the duration. Even though Rachel doesn’t need, or want, the annoyingly sexy man’s help. But while the world sees a first-class bitch when they look at her, Michael sees only someone who intrigues him. Which makes him the biggest threat of all.

Some Like It Shot by Zara KeaneSome Like It Shot by Zara Keane:

“Danger was part of my job description, but none of my contingency plans anticipated an attack by a Maine Coon.”

It’s summer on Whisper Island. Ex-cop-turned-private-investigator Maggie Doyle is looking forward to sun, fun, and romance. Instead, she gets bills, an assault allegation, and a busted wrist. To add insult to injury, there’s a movie being filmed on the island, and Maggie’s diva sister has been cast in it—her debut role. While other residents clamor for parts as extras, Maggie wants nothing to do with the shoot.

But when hotshot director Con Ryder asks Maggie to investigate a series of suspicious accidents on the movie set, she can’t afford to refuse. Maggie and her UFO-obsessed assistant, Lenny, go undercover as extras, with Lenny intent on enjoying every second of the experience, and Maggie determined to solve the mystery and leave as quickly as possible. Maggie’s hopes for a quick-fix solution are shot to pieces when the woman who accused her of assault turns up dead.

How will Maggie get out of this take? Grab a copy and find out today!

Sinfully Delicious by Amanda M. LeeSinfully Delicious by Amanda M. Lee:

Stormy Morgan left her hometown of Shadow Hills, Michigan, with one goal: to write the great American novel and strike it rich. She sold her novel not long after college, did relatively well, and then fell off a cliff into obscurity. Now, without a book contract, she’s back at her family restaurant in a one-stoplight town … and she’s convinced things couldn’t possibly get worse.

That feeling only lasts until her first shift, when on a trip to the storage building behind the restaurant, she literally trips over a body.

Roy Axe, Shadow Hills most hated “Axehole,” died a hard death only feet from the restaurant (and the second-floor apartment Stormy currently resides in). The detective on the case is none other than Hunter Ryan, Stormy’s high school boyfriend, and the man who occasionally still calls to her in dreams. Hunter only cares about solving a mystery – nothing else – so their reunion is tense.

In an attempt to distract herself from what’s happening, Stormy and her cousin Alice get drunk one night and pull out their great-grandmother’s old Ouija board, and it sets off a strange string of events, most of which seem magical … if you believe in that sort of thing, and Stormy isn’t sure she does.

Stormy has trouble deciding which problem to focus on, so she avoids them all until things start blowing up in her face.

Shadow Hills is a small town but the secrets that plague it run deep. Stormy is a woman – or maybe a witch – lost in a sea of magic and despair … but murder might just lead her out of it. That is if she can survive to solve the case, that is.

Little Doubt by Rachel LynchLittle Doubt by Rachel Lynch:

Some places make their own laws…

When Ella Watson, a woman of wealth and status, is brutally stabbed to death in broad daylight it sends a shockwave through the Lake District community. Later that day, Keira Bradley meets the same fate. But whereas Ella’s murder is a tragedy, Keira’s death on the notorious Beacon Estate is just another statistic in a dangerous place.

DI Kelly Porter has the unenviable job of running simultaneous investigations. Her efforts aren’t helped by a boss driven by protecting his reputation and a housing estate where fear rules and no one dare speak out. Kelly knows the answers can only be found by winning the trust of the residents at Beacon Estate. A task so hard it may be impossible.

Kelly puts everything she has into finding justice for both victims. The only thing she hadn’t anticipated was a traitor in the ranks. When the evidence points to someone in her team, Kelly has to put feelings aside and work the case – no matter where it leads. By the time it is over, nothing in her world will ever be the same…

A dark and gripping police procedural

Shocking Confessions by Walter MarksShocking Confessions by Walter Marks:

A pair of grisly crimes challenges East Hampton Detective Jericho. One involves a body under a bridge. The other is generated by the discovery of a human arm in a shark’s belly.

Kirkus review: “This latest entry in Marks’ (Tumbling Down, 2018, etc.) series featuring Jericho and his cohorts is a taut, fast-paced mystery that skillfully weaves together the investigations of two seemingly unrelated crimes while developing subplots introduced in previous installments. Although Jericho remains the series’ primary protagonist, Officer Vangie Clark becomes an important character in the story as she rises within the department from a 911 dispatcher to detective…”

All Bleeding Stops Eventually by Timothy SheardAll Bleeding Stops Eventually by Timothy Sheard:

When two LGBT hospital workers are denied paid parental leave for their newborn children, militant shop steward Lenny Moss takes up the fight for equal rights. Their union contract’s guidelines for paid leave, written before gay/lesbian marriage was legal in Pennsylvania, only requires unpaid leave. As the union mobilizes community support for LGBT rights, Lenny agrees to try and help a nurse who was fired when a patient under her care mysteriously disappeared. Did the patient elope, was she abducted, or was she murdered?

 

Murder on the Boardwalk by Lee StraussMurder on the Boardwalk by Lee Strauss:

Murder’s such a shock!

When Rosa Reed—aka WPC Reed of the Metropolitan Police—and her cousin Gloria decide to spend a fun-filled afternoon in 1956 at the fair on the boardwalk in Santa Bonita, California, they’re in for a shocking surprise. After a ride assistant’s death by electrocution is determined to be murder, Rosa finds herself entangled once again with her high school sweetheart, Detective Miguel Belmonte. Should she catch the next flight to London before she loses her heart again? Or worse, her life?

Deviant Souls by Amanda WilhelmDeviant Souls by Amanda Wilhelm:

Once I saw her, I had to have her.

Sam McIntyre had it all. Brilliant surgical career. Wealth. The begrudging respect of the best in the profession. Everything except someone to share it with.

Terri Malone is young, beautiful and a bit naïve. So what if Sam is a little possessive, a little pushy? Sam knows more about the world, about life, than Terri does. Of course Sam is going to make most of the decisions.

They look like the kind of couple everybody envies. The big house. The fabulous weekend getaways. The fast track to marriage and a family. As far as anyone knows, everything is perfect. And Sam will do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

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Cora is a Hugo Finalist!

I already posted about this over at my personal blog, but as I went through everything that needs to be updated, I realised that I really ought to blog about this over here as well.

As you may know, the finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards and the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards have just been announced. Both ballots are very good this year and I promise you that the detailed analysis of the finalists, which I know you’re all waiting for, is coming as soon as I can get it written over at my personal blog. In the meantime, you can read Camestros Felapton’s comments about the 2020 Hugo finalists. And if you want to get started reading the finalists (never too early), JJ has put together a handy list where to find the finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards for free at File 770.

But for now, I want to focus on just one category, namely the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Fanwriter. Cause if you take a look at that category, you will find – among most excellent company – my name.

Yes, I’m a Hugo finalist for Best Fanwriter!

I’ve known about this for about two weeks now (for those who don’t know, the Hugo coordinators contact you beforehand to ask if you want to accept the nomination), but I’m still in shock. When I got the e-mail from CoNZealand, I initially didn’t even know what it was. I was waiting for an e-mail from my ISP and for my Disney Plus activation mail, so when I saw a mail from CoNZealand in my inbox instead, I thought it was a newsletter or progress report.

It’s a great honour to be a Hugo finalist and I want to thank everybody who nominated me. I’m also thrilled that my friends of Galactic Journey are finalists again in the Best Fanzine category and that my friend Paul Weimer is a fellow finalist in the fanwriter category.

Unfortunately, with CoNZealand going virtual due to the corona pandemic, there won’t be a traditional Hugo ceremony nor the reception beforehand nor the Hugo Losers’ Party afterwards. But thankfully, I got to experience all that last year in Dublin as the designated accepter for Galactic Journey. And on the plus side, it means that I can follow the Hugo announcements in my pyjamas, which is a lot more comfortable than an evening gown and tiara.

I also have a request. Like all Hugo finalists, I will be asked to put together a selection of writings for the Hugo voters packet. And that’s why I need your help. Which 2019 articles or essays of mine should go into the Hugo Voters packet? There is a full list here, so let me know in the comments which ones you think should go into the packet.

How can you vote for the 2020 Hugos and 1945 Retro Hugos? I guess pretty much everybody here knows how it works, but for those who don’t, it’s quite simple. If you buy a supporting membership for CoNZealand, the 2020 Worldcon, you can vote for the Hugo and Retro Hugo Awards as well as vote to select the location of the 2022 Worldcon. You also receive all of the convention publications and get access to the Hugo Voters’ packet, which contains most of the nominated works either in part or as a whole. If you buy an online attending membership, you can also attend the virtual Worldcon panels and other events online.

As I said above, the detailed analysis of the 2020 Hugo and 1945 Retro Hugo ballot is coming soon, probably tomorrow. But for now, I just want to say thank you for nominating me.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for March 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 February 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, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, YA fantasy, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, science fantasy,  space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, YA science fiction, vampires, werewolves, wizards, demons, dragons, zombies, necromancers, succubi, crime-busting witches, crime-busting weretigers, missing giants, missing kings, space mages, space pirates, space rebels, teens lost in space 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:

Rebel by Krista D. BallRebel by Krista D. Ball:

Trust is the rarest of commodities.

From the moment she stepped onboard Liberty’s Pleasure, Rebecca St. Martin knew something was off. Before she could sound the alarm, she was kidnapped and pulled into a conspiracy that made her question every single relationship she’d made.

Even as Rebecca questioned, she looked around at her co-captives and decided it didn’t matter. She wouldn’t let anyone harm these people for one minute longer than necessary. They had no hero coming to rescue them. Just her.

Rebecca will have to put aside a lifetime of fear and be the hero these people need. Anyone wanting to hurt them would have to go through her first.

Balancing the Scales by Annie BelletBalancing the Scales by Annie Bellet:

Never fear an ending. For every end is a beginning, too. Even the darkest night is broken by the dawn…

Jade Crow faces her biggest challenges yet, and the consequences just might be world-ending…

This is the tenth book and the exciting conclusion to The Twenty-Sided Sorceress urban fantasy series!

 

 

Battle Bond by Lindsay BurokerBattle Bond by Lindsay Buroker:

If you think having one dragon around messes up your life, imagine what it’s like when a second one shows up.

I’m Val Thorvald, assassin of magical bad guys and tenuous ally to the dragon lord Zav.

He still calls me a mongrel and thinks I’m a criminal, but he healed my wounds after we fought those dark elves together. That’s progress, right? Maybe one day, he’ll deign to use my name.

Not that this is my primary concern. I’m busy with a new assignment. Nin, the awesome lady who makes my magical weapons, has a werewolf problem. Specifically, sleazy loser werewolf competitors who want to drive her out of business. Or worse.

Normally, a couple of werewolves wouldn’t be a big deal, but these ones have powerful allies. And then there’s that new dragon.

It turns out he’s one of Zav’s enemies, and he wants to use me against him.

I don’t know why he’s picking on me—it’s not like I mean something to Zav—but somehow I’ve gotten stuck in the middle of dragon politics. If you think that sounds like a nightmare, you’re right.

If I can’t figure out a way to help my friend with the werewolves while keeping these dragons from tearing me apart, we’re both going to end up flatter than the deck chairs when Zav lands on the roof of my apartment building.

Apple of My Eye by Alyssa DayApple of My Eye by Alyssa Day:

A detective who turns into a tiger. A pawn shop owner who can see how you’ll die. The criminals never had a chance.

If you enjoyed Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood, you’ll love Tess Callahan and the Tiger’s Eye mysteries. Tess and sexy shapeshifter Jack solve mysteries with supernatural flair, and the laughs fly as fast as the clues.” — New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn.

When Tess starts receiving mysterious gifts from a stalker, addressed to “The Apple of My Eye,” she starts to worry. Because it’s Dead End, Florida, where dead bodies have been piling up faster than competitive pecan pies at the county fair. But when the gifts turn deadly, she and Jack know they have to solve the mystery and track down the stalker before they find another dead body … and this time it might be Tess!

Luckily, Tess has Jack to help her solve this case … because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

Daughter of Winter by Corina DouglasDaughter of Winter by Corina Douglas:

Some choose to fight the darkness; others become it.

Darkness and danger enter Brydie MacKay’s life in the form of an unforeseen inheritance.

Ignorant of her turbulent birthright, and unaware that she is marked by an ancient prophecy wielded by the gods, Brydie becomes prey to a powerful adversary who seeks vengeance for the curse laid upon him thousands of years before.

When her life is threatened, and the lives of the people she cares for are placed in jeopardy, Brydie must choose to embrace her legacy and fight the darkness or lose everything she loves.

Daughter of Winter is the first book in a gripping fantasy series based on the legends behind the winter goddess, Cailleach Bheur. The series draws you into a world of Celtic mythology, powerful Druids, dark magic, and fated mates.

Wizard's Hatchling by James EggebeenWizard’s Hatchling by James Eggebeen:

The age of Dragons has returned…

Kedrik was just another promising student at the wizard’s school in Amedon. He thought saving the last dragon egg was the right thing to do. Little did he know he was going to be stuck raising the troublesome hatchling.

Expelled from the school for losing control of their magic and run out of every town they entered, Kedrik and his dragon, Sul’ing must learn to control their wild magic, but the threat to the dragon realm has them chasing their tails.

Bones TradersBone Traders by Rachel Ford:

A missing giant. A sinister conspiracy. A decision that will change the fate of a jarldom.

The bone trade is big business. Black market buyers will offer many silvers for fresh giant bone, to carve into charms or use in dark enchantments.

When cloaked men kidnap the giant Njal Frostborn, everyone knows why. He’s destined to be murdered and sold in that terrible trade.

His best friend, apprentice wizard Idun Wintermoon, is determined to save him from that terrible fate. But to do so, she must defy the head of her order, and face powers far beyond her ability. To survive, she’s going to need an ally. Luckily for her, Lissette Forlatt – a down-on-her-luck sellsword – is on the case. Together, they’ll brave worse than the elements and rogue mages in their quest to save Njal. What they discover might shake the jarldom to its core.

If they live long enough to tell the story.

No Quarter by Rachel FordNo Quarter by Rachel Ford:

Sometimes, old debts cost dearly.

War breaks out when the Union’s newest member planet is attacked by an age-old rival. Now every planet or star system with a grudge is capitalizing on the unrest.

And every available hand is drafted into service, to help keep the peace. That includes privateers Kay Ellis and Captain Magdalene Landon, whose honeymoon is cut short when the Black Flag is assigned to the far reaches of Union space.

It’s supposed to be a quiet mission: a simple show of force to deter mischief makers and reassure the border colonies that they haven’t been forgotten.

What they find instead is a ruthless enemy, who will stop at nothing to oust the Union – and anyone flying her colors.

Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan FortinLilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan Fortin:

England, 1876. Twenty-year-old Maraina Blackwood has always struggled to adhere to the restrictive standards of Victorian society, denying the courage and desire that burn within her soul. But after a terrifying supernatural encounter, Maraina’s instincts compel her to action.

Maraina soon discovers a plot to unleash a new world—one of demonic aristocrats, bloody rituals, and nightmarish monsters. Putting her upbringing aside, Maraina vows to fight the dark forces assuming control of England. But as her world transforms, Maraina finds that she too must transform…and what she becomes will bring out all that she once buried.

Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is the first chapter in an epic dark fantasy saga, proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Wicked Reunion by Lily Harper HartWicked Reunion by Lily Harper Hart:

Ivy Morgan was convinced she was heading toward a smooth future … until she was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Sure, she was saving a woman from certain death at the time, but in order for the criminal case to hold up against a murderer, she has to face the music.

Fear is the one thing Ivy hates more than anything else, so in order to make herself feel better, she decides to fix her Aunt Felicity’s love life. That includes tracking down an old love … who just so happens to have set up shop one town over.

While visiting, Ivy is horrified when a battered woman straggles through the door and is immediately shot dead by a masked man. Traumatized, horrified, she calls her fiancé Detective Jack Harker for help. By the time he arrives, though, things are already spiraling out of control.

Ivy was always a good girl – although sometimes with a bad attitude – but now she’s a murder suspect thanks to some overzealous police officers … and a criminal record that’s fresh in the minds of everyone concerned.

Jack is determined to protect Ivy, but there’s only so much he can do. That means he needs to work with her to solve the crime. Otherwise, it could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Who would be so brutal, though? That’s the question of the day.

A dangerous game of cat and mouse is afoot, and it’s going to take both Jack and Ivy working together to figure it out.

Kiss of Death by Kelly HashwayKiss of Death by Kelly Hashway:

The only life Alex Montgomery knows is raising the dead and having zombie servants, normal stuff for an Ophi.

Alex is a necromancer descended from Medusa—or at least he will be once he comes into his powers. So far his life is training to use abilities he doesn’t yet possess, which gets him beaten up by zombies on more than one occasion. And his parents Victoria and Troy won’t tolerate anything less than perfection from Alex. He has a lot to live up to, and they remind him of it every day.

So when an innocent birthday kiss turns deadly, Alex has to work twice as hard to master his Ophi abilities. He isn’t the Chosen One, but he’s still a Montgomery, which means he’s expected to run the Ophi school one day. With a new group of students coming to the school, Alex needs to learn fast because he’s about to be sent on the biggest mission of his life.

No Crone Unturned by Amanda M. LeeNo Crone Unturned by Amanda M. Lee:

Scout Randall is on the verge of getting information about her past. Patience has never been one of her virtues, though. As she’s waiting for her source to get settled, a new problem arises … and it has fangs.

When she was a kid, a chance encounter in a park left Scout questioning the existence of monsters. Now, one of those potential monsters is back … and he’s taken up residence in Hawthorne Hollow. He isn’t alone either.

Vampires are on the prowl and it’s up to the Spell’s Angels to figure out what they want and eradicate them through any means necessary. That’s easier said than done, though.

Scout can’t shake the feeling that something bigger than the obvious is happening, and when her boyfriend’s close friend is infected, she realizes she has to increase her efforts if she wants to save as many people as possible.

One vampire is deadly. A nest, though? That can be catastrophic. In this particular case, the head vampire trying to infiltrate Hawthorne Hollow has a plan … and it involves turning as many people as possible.

It’s a race against time. Scout has to keep those closest to her safe while expanding her search for answers. In the end, she might get more than she bargained for on both fronts … if she can survive long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Alpha and Omega by Carol T. LunaAlpha and Omega by Carol T. Luna:

Ao never believed in monsters—not after being branded one since childhood. Exiled, he lives with his adoptive guardian, Kaisei Aizawa, amidst verdant valleys surrounded by desolation.

Humanity only had themselves to blame for the wretched landscape. Their war poisoned the seas. Their greed coveted the fertile and the green.

Their ambition set it ablaze.

One hundred years had passed since the war banished Talus to the skies. Doomed to chase the sun, the once proud nation survives as a floating city. But the fallen always hunger for more.

When the Talarians descend to claim the earth as their own, Ao escapes capture—but nothing is without its price. The only man he ever saw as family, Kaisei, is imprisoned instead.

Ao vows to rescue him, no matter the cost—even if it means taking a stand against the most powerful nation left on earth. He knows of the risks. He knows of the dangers. But never would he know that someday, somehow, he would finally believe in monsters.

Kitra by Gideon MarcusKitra by Gideon Marcus:

Stranded in space: no fuel, no way home…and no one coming to help. Nineteen-year-old Kitra Yilmaz dreams of traveling the galaxy like her Ambassador mother. But soaring in her glider is the closest she can get to touching the stars–until she stakes her inheritance on a salvage Navy spaceship.On its shakedown cruise, Kitra’s ship plunges into hyperspace, stranding Kitra and her crew light years away. Tensions rise between Kitra and her shipmates: the handsome programmer, Fareedh; Marta, biologist and Kitra’s ex-girlfriend; Peter, the panicking engineer, and the oddball alien navigator, Pinky.Now, running low on air and food, it’ll take all of them working together to get back home.

Unbroken Vows by Christine PopeUnbroken Vows by Christine Pope:

Hell hath no fury like a demon back from the dead.

Rosemary McGuire thought the past was dead. Unfortunately, she’s dead wrong…because it’s standing on her doorstep, very much alive. But this time, Caleb Lockwood’s target isn’t the hidden hard drive with the footage that proves demons are real. His target is Rosemary.

When Will Gordon comes home to find Rosemary gone, he trusts his instincts and reaches out to a network of friends forged in the fires of too many demon battles. Soon he, Michael, Audrey, and Glynis are casting supernatural nets far and wide in a desperate search. And Will is torn between hurling ungodly curses at who — or what — took the love of his life, and falling to his knees to pray for her safe return.

The truth isn’t just a nightmare — it’s a night terror. And Rosemary faces the terrible choice of surrendering everything she is to an unspeakable evil…or losing everyone she loves.

Unbroken Vows concludes the six-part Project Demon Hunters series.

Marek by Liza ProbzMarek by Liza Probz:

Jazmine

Being a thief was never my life’s ambition, but there’s something I need to find, and I’ll go to any length to do it.

It’s a matter of life and death. And no one is willing to help.

A few mishaps later, I find myself in trouble with the feline king and it’s time to RUN.

But I don’t get very far. A handsome humanoid is wanting company for a long trip and he’s offering just the help I need.

For a cost…

Marek

One year. That’s all I get before I’m to step up as rightful king of my people.

A people believed to be extinct by the surrounding worlds.

Even though I’m the eldest and most responsible, I’m in need of an adventure and a beautiful woman to help keep my blood warm.

Finding a human thief who needed a transport around the galaxy was not part of the plan, but once I laid eyes on her, I knew she was mine.

She might plan on ripping me off and not paying up on her half of the bargain, but that’s all right. I don’t only want her body.

I want everything she’s got to offer.

Forever.

Magically Poisoned by Joynell SchultzMagically Poisoned by Joynell Schultz:

The Mayor was murdered?
And a magical plant from my garden is to blame?

Even if I wanted that jerk dead, running my Bed & Breakfast takes all my time. There’s no way I could have snuck a murder into my busy schedule, but obviously, someone I know did.

They stole a plant from my garden and poisoned the Mayor. It couldn’t be my hard-working assistant, the delivery driver, or my gardener, could it be? And I’m sure it wasn’t the sexy water witch who spends an absurd amount of time staying at my little Bed & Breakfast…but he does know way more than he should about magical plants.

When the police ask for my cooperation, I begin to investigate myself. Who would steal from me? Frame me? None of my friends look like they could murder anyone…but what does a murderer look like?

But don’t worry, I have this all under control.

I’m a potion witch and have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Mountains of Mars by Glynn StewartMountains of Mars by Glynn Stewart:

The Mage-King of Mars is dead
Chaos rocks Olympus Mons
A new monarch must rise – but she does not stand alone!

As the celebration of the victory at Legatus cools, a shuttle accident claims the lives of the Mage-King of Mars and his heir. The Crown and the Mountain fall to the Mage-King’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Kiera Alexander. She recalls Damien Montgomery, her father’s First Hand, to stand as her Lord Regent.

The pair are unprepared to govern but are thrust into the heart of Protectorate politics as the Mage-King had left behind everything from an unfinished war to an incomplete new Constitution.

Even as they get a handle on the list Kiera’s father left them, Damien is grimly certain of one thing: when it comes to the deaths of Kings, he doesn’t believe in accidents.

Auxiliary's Revenge by Jeff Tanyard Auxiliary’s Revenge by Jeff Tanyard:

Jerry Harper is back home, recovering from his injuries. It won’t be for long. He’s a strategic asset now, and the government is eager to send him back into action. They want to protect him better on his next war patrol, so he’s assigned to a new station: the Agrarian Commonwealth’s new battleship. He and the fleet soon jump out and begin their mission.

While in space, horrifying news arrives. The Reliants have invented a doomsday weapon, a virus that targets the Agrarian genetic code. They begin deploying it, and Agrarians are killed by the billions. Jerry is tasked with using his electrokinesis to find the virus’s production facility so that a coordinated attack can be made. It might be the only chance the Commonwealth gets before the galaxy’s Agrarians are exterminated.

Jerry’s health is in rapid decline due to his electrokinesis. He can’t afford to push himself. But a Rifleman does his duty, even if it kills him.

The Black Raider by John TriptychThe Black Raider by John Triptych:

In command of the most notorious pirate outfit in known space, Captain Dangard is a mystery- a man without a past, until a stowaway triggers an event that reveals long buried secrets.

Before the legend, a young military officer chose honor over duty. His actions led to betrayal and then exile to the worst prison imaginable. Within that forsaken world there were infinite ways to die, yet only one path led to freedom and ultimately, vengeance.

For somewhere in the shadows of deep space, a black ship waited—ready to unleash her unholy power across the entire galaxy.

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