The Silencer returns in “Fact or Fiction”

As you know from my last post, I spent the whole of July doing a writing challenge, which involved writing a short story per day. So expect a bunch of new releases, including a new series, in the next weeks or months.

The first of these new releases is already here and it features an old friend, pulp writer Richard Blakemore a.k.a. the masked crimefighter known only as the Silencer.

What inspired Fact or Fiction was the realisation that even though Richard Blakemore is a pulp writer, we hardly ever see him writing. So I decided to remedy that and give Richard a quiet evening at home, since the weather is too foul for crimefighting.

In the course of that evening, we not just finally get to see Richard writing, we also find out just how much he embellishes the Silencer’s adventures for the pulps to satisfy his editor’s requests for relentless action and euphemistic descriptions of rosy skin and lush curves. Oh yes, and don’t use the word “brothel”, cause it will upset the guardians of public decency, and absolutely don’t mention to rat shit.

Richard’s fiancée Constance and the kitten Richard rescued at the end of Elevator of Doom reappear as well. The kitten is now called Edgar, named for Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Edgar Wallace. Because Richard absolutely would name his cat for his literary heroes.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up your copy of Fact or Fiction today.

Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction by Cora BuhlertNew York City, 1936: It’s a rare evening at home for Richard Blakemore, hardworking pulp writer by day and the masked vigilante only known as the Silencer by night. But even though crime never rests, next month’s Silencer novel doesn’t write itself. And besides, Richard enjoys the chance to spend some time with his fiancée Constance Allen.

Pulp fiction thrives on exaggeration and non-stop action. And as always, the question is how much of the Silencer’s adventures are fact and how much is fiction?

 

More information.
Length: 2700 words.
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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The July Short Story Challenge Revisited – 31 Stories in 31 Days

Last year, I took part in the “July short story challenge”, which was inspired by Dean Wesley Smith who challenged himself to write a short story per day in July 2015.

I played along and ended up with 31 short stories in various genres, most of which are now published, either as standalones or in collections. I also blogged about the challenge here.

This year, Dean Wesley Smith announced another July short story challenge in the context of an additional challenge of writing 200 short stories in a year.

Now it was pretty obvious to me that writing 200 short stories in a year just wouldn’t be possible for me at this point. I think fifty stories in a year is the maximum I can manage/have managed, which basically adds up to Ray Bradbury’s “write a short story per week” challenge.

However, I know I can write a short story per day for a whole month, since I did it last year. And since I enjoyed last year’s July short story challenge a whole lot and found it incredibly inspirational, I wanted to give it another try.

There was just one problem. Last July, I had something of a lull in work and therefore enough time to do the challenge. This year, however, I had a huge translation job, which extended through the first week of July, as well as several smaller ones. And while one of my German classes for refugees finished in late June, the second was set to run through the summer holidays, even though it ultimately didn’t (turns out that refugees also like relaxing during the summer holidays, who’d have guessed?). So in short, it looked as if I would have a lot less time for the short story challenge in July 2016 than in July 2015.

Nonetheless, I decided to give it a go and see how many stories I would get done. So I wrote a short story on July 1. And then another the next day, and so on.

After ten days, Dean Wesley Smith, the initiator/inspiration behind the July short story challenge, realised that his brain wanted to write novels instead and stopped. Which is actually more or less what always stopped me from officially doing NaNoWriMo, namely that my brain inveitably wanted to work on something else rather than the NaNo novel. And indeed, this is why I like the July Short Story Challenge, because a short story a day is a much smaller investment than working only on one novel for a whole months. Plus, I get bored easily, so I like the idea of writing something different every day.

And so, in spite of translation work and classes, at least for the first half of the month, as well as two day trips, I wrote a short story every day in July. So at the end of the months, I had 31 new short stories altogether, which feels pretty damn amazing.

Like last year, the range of genres, subgenres and styles is pretty broad, with the majority being some flavour of speculative fiction. One thing I noticed this year is that I found myself experimenting with genres I don’t normally write such as western and horror. And indeed, the ability to experiment is one of the things I love about this challenge in particular and about writing short fiction in general.

So here is the genre/subgenre breakdown for the 2016 July short story challenge:

  • Post-apocalyptic science fiction: 5 stories
  • Horror/dark fantasy: 4 stories
  • Space opera: 3 stories
  • Steampunk: 3 stories
  • Urban fantasy: 3 stories
  • Crime fiction: 3 stories
  • Dystopian science fiction: 2 stories
  • Alien invasion: 2 stories
  • Straight western: 2 stories
  • Weird western: 1 story
  • Pulp thriller: 1 story
  • Other science fiction: 1 story
  • Epic fantasy: 1 story

I should note that a lot of the time, the different subgenres bled into each other. Hence, two of the three Steampunk stories were Steampunk westerns, the two alien invasion stories were also horror and one was post-apocalytic as well, a lot of the horror stories were also dark comedies (somehow, I have problems writing straight horror – whenever I try it turns into parody horror) and urban fantasy and horror bled into each other as well.

The 2016 stories also turned out longer than the ones I wrote for last year’s challenge. Last year, I wrote a lot of flash fiction stories and only a handful that were longer than 2000 words. The longest of last year’s stories was 3300 words long.

Meanwhile, the shortest story I wrote for this year’s challenge was 750 words long, the longest was 7600 words long, i.e. just crossing the threshold into novelette territory. Only two stories were flash fiction, i.e. under 1000 words, whereas seven were longer than 3000 words. All in all, I wrote a little over 70000 words in July 2016, which is well above the NaNoWriMo limit of 50000. And since I tend to be what writers call a putter-inner, i.e. my stories always tend to get longer in subsequent drafts, I suspect that quite a few of the stories from the 2016 July short story challenge will turn out to be pretty substantial, once published.

Okay, so let’s talk about story ideas. Writing 31 short stories in 31 days certainly requires generating a lot of ideas. Coincidentally, it’s also an excellent exercise for those who have problems coming up with story ideas.

Like last year, the approach that worked best for me was using images, usually SFF art, as writing prompts. Altogether, 18 stories for this challenge were inspired in some way by SFF imagery plus one story that was inspired by a sculpture (more on that later). io9’s concept art writing prompts yielded several ideas as did imagery found on Pinterest and deviantart. In one case, a story was inspired by checking out the work of the 2016 best fan artist Hugo nominees, since the Hugo voter packet was somewhat incomplete in that regard.

Other inspirations were text writing prompts and headlines such as the tag line of a vintage western paperback and the very silly German title of an Italian western (the German versions of Italian westerns often have supremely silly and melodramatic titles which have nothing whatsoever to do with the original title, e.g. “Once Upon a Time in the West” is known as “Play me the song of death” in German and that’s not even the silliest one by far).

Other inspirations, finally, were just random things that caught my eye and fired up my imagination: The Pokemon Go craze inspired a story, as did this article about Muffler Men (Here is another article about the phenomenon with lots of photos). Yet another story was inspired by finding a handwritten tense little scene that was almost all dialogue (and ended on a cliffhanger, probably because I ran out of time) that I wrote for a university creative writing workshop more than ten years ago. Yet another story was inspired by this sculpture of a giant disembodied arm in front of the entrance to the Bremerhaven maritime museum.

Like last year, I also noticed that certain themes began to emerge during the challenge. For example, I wrote a lot of post-apocalyptic stories for this challenge, which I suspect were at least partly inspired by a generally grim world political situation with seemingly another spree killing or terrorist attack every other day. The many horror stories I wrote for this challenge are also due to this, I suspect.

Three of the post-apocalyptic stories I wrote for this challenge were set in a flooded post-climate change world. For variety, I also had a frozen post-climate change world as well as a killer virus/zombie story. I also found myself writing a lot of stories with maritime settings, eight altogether. Now maritime settings and stories are nothing new for me, since I grew up close to the German North Sea coast, born into a family of sailors, sea captains and naval engineers (we even have a priest who worked at a seaman’s mission) and work as a translator for the nautical and shipbuilding industries among other things, so I have a certain affinity for maritime themes and settings, as my published works show. However, the sheer amount of maritime stories I wrote for this challenge, anything from flooded worlds to sea monsters, was still a surprise.

Talking of settings for which I have an affinity, I also wrote three monster stories set in the Louisiana bayous. Now I spent a memorable and very important year as a kid in Biloxi on the Mississippi Gulf coast with frequent trips to New Orleans, so I have a lasting affinity for the Gulf coast, its people, food and culture. There was nothing that specifically reminded me of those experiences and indeed all three stories in question were inspired by SFF art. However, what I suspect happened is that my mind looked at imagery of creatures in swamps and immediately connected it to my memories of the US Gulf coast (Germany does have swamps and moors, but they don’t look like that) and resulted in a spate of Southern horror stories.

Come to think of it, the Muffler Men story was also at least in part inspired by my time spent in the US Deep South as a kid, because I looked at those images and thought, “Hey, I remember those. They were cool.” Coincidentally, my Mom claims no to have any memories of seeing Muffler Men in the US at all, though my Dad does. “I guess I just didn’t pay attention to advertising figurines”, she said to me. “Well”, I said, “you weren’t five. Cause trust me, those figurines are extremely memorable and cool, when you’re five.” Coincidentally, a lot of my memories of that year in the US South involve weird roadside attractions, which are extremely cool, if you’re very young. Besides, while Germany might have a lot of amazing sights, fibreglass figures and Bible gardens assembled from pottery shards are not among them. Coincidentally, the fact that my parents were a) determined to see as much as possible and b) rather clueless with regard to US history and culture also meant that I visited a whole lot of rather creepy plantation houses, Confederate forts, Jefferson Davis memorials and the like. Interestingly, I both recognised that the place was racist as fuck, probably better than my parents did, and yet saw absolutely no conflict about plantation houses and Jefferson Davis memorials presented as tourist attractions.

Talking of the Muffler Men story, that one was part of another theme that appeared during the challenge, namely a theme of stories about monsters that aren’t very monstrous and humans that are. There are at least five stories which fall into that theme and often involve humans involving non-human beings (Pokemon, Muffler Men, zombies) for profit and personal gain. Again, I suspect that this is something inspired by a generally grim world-political situation.

Another theme that appeared during the challenge was westerns. All in all, I wrote two straight westerns, two steampunk westerns and one weird western, which surprised me a lot, because westerns are normally a genre I have problems with, particularly the Hollywood westerns of the 1930 through 1960s, which were pretty much ubiquitous on TV during my childhood and tended to infuriate me a lot with their blatant racism and sexism. Meanwhile, there also were westerns I enjoyed, e.g. Karl May’s Winnetou novels and their film adaptations, Italian western movies, B-movie serials and pulp Romanhefte. Eventually, I sat down to list all the elements of westerns I enjoyed and those I hated to see if I could make the genre work for me. Outlaw Love was one result of that. Nonetheless, the western was never a go-to genre for me, which is why I am surprised that I wrote five westerns (with or without added speculative elements) for this challenge. The first western showed up early in the challenge, inspired by the really silly German title of an Italian western, which I suppose primed my mind to come up with more ideas along the same lines.

In general, I believe that everything we read, watch or experience goes into the big stewpot of the subconscious and that everything I or any other writer (disregarding the “write to market” types for a moment) writes arises from that stewpot, usually so transformed and blended that the influences can become unrecognisable even to ourselves. Creating under pressure – and writing a short story per day for a whole month creates a lot of pressure – speeds up that process to the point that whatever I read, watch or experience at the time influences the stories I write for the challenge to some degree.

Last year for example, I read both The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction by Justine Larbalastier and Galactic Suburbia by Lisa Yaszek, while doing the challenge, and promptly wrote a lot of stories playing with and subverting the tropes and gender dynamics of Golden Age science fiction (collected in Bug-Eyed Monsters and the Women Who Love Them). A couple of other stories were influenced by following the readings for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize on TV. This year, I did my Hugo reading during the challenge period and promptly found some of my output influenced by that. A day trip to Bremerhaven also inspired at least two stories.

And since the stewpot of my subconscious was working overtime, a whole lot of stories turned into an unholy mash-up of influences. For example, one of my favourite stories I wrote for the challenge mashed up one of io9’s concept art writing prompts (not even an image I particularly liked, just one that stuck with me) with one of the works on the 2016 Hugo shortlist, which started out with a really cool idea and then did nothing with it, but went off on a completely different tangent. So I had a mash-up of two ideas, added the protagonists of a new series I’m working on and out came a pretty tense science fiction yarn.

Last year, not a single of the 31 stories I wrote for the July short story challenge was part of an established series or set in an established world, which was quite contrary to Dean Wesley Smith’s experience. This year, however, five stories were part of an established series or set in an established world. And so I wrote a new Silencer story and Hallowind Cove story (Hallowind Cove is the fog-shrouded seaside town that is a magnet for weird happenings, which features in The Revenant of Wrecker’s Dock). All right, so Hallowind Cove isn’t actually a series yet, since there is only one story so far, but I always intended to write more stories set in that town.

What is more, for a while now I have been working on In Love and War, a space opera/science fiction romance series about two elite soldiers from opposite sides of an intergalactic war, who fall in love. The first two books in the series are novel-length, which is why they’ve been taking me a while to get finished. However, I had always planned to give my central couple shorter one-off adventures, once they’d gotten together. During the challenge, a piece of concept art sparked an idea for such a one-off adventure, so I wrote it. Some time later, another piece of concept art sparked an idea for a prequel story featuring the central couple as teenagers, showing where they come from and what turned them into the people they later become, so I wrote that as well. Then, on the last day of the challenge, my brain mashed up a piece of concept art I’d seen at io9 and a cool idea from another story which that author didn’t really do anything with, while I was dozing in bed. “That would make a great In Love and War story”, it occurred to me, so I got up and wrote it pretty much straight through. So I now have three stories, coincidentally three of the longest I wrote for the challenge, in a new series. The In Love and War stories were also some of the most emotionally harrowing I wrote during the challenge, probably because I was a lot more invested in these characters and their lives than in the characters I created largely from scratch for the purpose of the challenge.

Talking of characters, like last year I found that the challenge stories resulted in a highly diverse range of characters of different ages, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and economic backgrounds, etc… including several non-human protagonists. Particularly the In Love and War stories have characters of very different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In the three stories I wrote for the series, I have characters of Indian, Russian, Turkish, Serbian and Chinese origin. There’s a white guy of Anglo-American origin as well – a quasi-villain (it’s complicated). So even if you are creating under pressure, there really is no excuse to default to straight white Anglo-American men as your protagonists (though I have those, too, and they’re not all villains).

To sum it up, I think the greatest benefit of doing something like the July short story challenge is that it pressures you to come up with ideas on a short notice and write without overthinking everything. It’s the ultimate pressure cooker for your creativit and puts the stewpot of your subconsciousness into overdrive. What comes out is frequently strange and unexpected, but it can also be quite remarkable.

Should you do the July short story challenge or something like it? If you have the time, you should certainly give it a try.

Will I do it again sometime? Probably.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2016

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some June books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have a whole lot of space opera and military science fiction this month as well as funny science fiction, dystopian fiction, Steampunk, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, Asian fantasy, young adult fantasy, young adult science fiction, fairytales, horror, vampires, fae, superheroes, blighters, alien invasions, galactic conspiracies, royal weddings, interrupted dinners, cardboard spaceships, haunted houses, time travel 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:

A Threat of Shadows by J.A. AndrewsA Threat of Shadows by J.A. Andrews:

There are decisions that can’t be unmade, paths that cannot be unchosen, choices that change us too much for us to ever change back.

In a desperate attempt to save his dying wife, Alaric has sacrificed everything. He’s abandoned his position as advisor to the Queen, he’s cast aside his role as a Keeper, he’s betrayed his deepest beliefs.

And still he has failed.

Now he’s found one last chance at a cure. Haunted by the choices he has made and surrounded by companions who have dangerous secrets of their own, he returns to the people and land he turned his back on.

But soon the quest to save his wife becomes entangled with a larger quest. Gathering shadows threaten the land, whispering of the return of a dark lord, thought to be defeated.

To fight this enemy, the world needs the Keeper Alaric used to be, not the broken man he has become.

Can he regain what he’s lost? Or do some choices change us too much for us to ever go back?

Alaric must decide or, in the face of all the growing shadows, it may be the darkness he carries within himself that destroys everything.

The Three Quarters Eaten Dessert by Cora BuhlertThe Three Quarters Eaten Dessert by Cora Buhlert

Bertha and Alfred, married for twenty years, enjoy a truly science fictional life in the twenty-first century. But in spite of all the technological marvels surrounding them, an argument about sharing a dessert at an upscale restaurant escalates and threatens their friendship with their neighbours, the Hoppenstedts.

This parodistic piece is a mundane short story of 6000 words or approximately 25 print pages, written in the style of science fiction’s “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s. With bonus recipe.

 

Cleon Moon by Lindsay BurokerCleon Moon by Lindsay Buroker:

Now that she’s retrieved the Staff of Lore, Captain Alisa Marchenko can finally dedicate herself and her ship to finding her kidnapped daughter. Her scant clues lead her to Cleon Moon.

Unfortunately, since the fall of the empire, mafia clans have taken over the domed cities on the harsh moon, and exploring there isn’t easy. Even with the cyborg Leonidas at her side, Alisa struggles to survive vengeful mafia clans, rogue Starseers, and genetically engineered predators. To further complicate matters, she must worry about the ancient relic hidden on her ship, a beacon to anyone in the system who craves its power. If Alisa can’t navigate the moon’s chaos, she may lose her only chance to catch up with her daughter.

The Immortality Cure by Toni CentanniThe Immortality Cure by Toni Centanni:

Henri Dunn was damn good at being a vampire, until her immortality was ripped away from her.

Now she must solve a murder or be executed for a crime she didn’t commit.

Six months ago, Henri was stuck with a syringe full of the poison known as “The Immortality Cure.” Now, after almost a century of being an immortal monster, Henri is human again and she’s not loving it: her body aches, she has too many mortal needs, and the other vampires shun her as a Blood Traitor. All she can do is keep her head down and bide her time until she can find a way to get her immortality back.

When vials of the serum are stolen from the lab and another vampire is murdered, Henri is the number one suspect. With the help of a melodramatic vampire “king” and his mortal groupie, Henri must find the real killer or face the wrath of vengeful vampires.

The Immortality Cure is the first book in The Henri Dunn Urban Fantasy Series, featuring a badass female protagonist and a sardonic sense of humor.

Hollow House by Greg ChapmanHollow House by Greg Chapman:

No one in Willow Street pays it any notice, not the disgruntled Campbell family next door, not Alice Cowley and her suicidal daughter, or Mr. and Mrs. Markham down the road. Not even Darryl, the loner at number seventy, who is abnormal himself, thinks much about it. It is just the old Kemper House, forgotten and abandoned.

Until it makes itself known.

When the stench of death wafts from Kemper House through Willow Street, and comes to the attention of recent resident and newspaper reporter, Ben Traynor, it starts a chain of horrors that brings Kemper House’s curse into their own homes and leads others direct to its door. Kemper House not only haunts its neighbours, it infects them with an evil that traverses time and reality itself.

The Cardboard Spaceship by Matt Snee and Gregg ChirlinThe Cardboard Spaceship by Gregg Chirlin and Matt Snee:

Lewis Darby, a science fiction writer of some repute, is about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

Also known as the Captain, Lewis lives with his mother in modern day Indiana. What nobody knows is that sometimes Captain crawls beneath an old refrigerator box in the basement and pretends it’s a spaceship. And what Captain doesn’t realize is that he has a date with destiny.

One peculiar April morning, Captain crosses paths with Jennifer Pichon, the child of legendary space explorer Marty Pichon and Kitty Malhotra, the Princess of Saturn. They join forces just in time as the terrifying astronomical event called “No-Shape” is poised to ravage the Solar System from Mercury to Neptune and beyond.

Together, Captain and the mysterious Jennifer face such terrors as the jungles of Venus, the perilous Worm Caves, and the decaying, giant insect-ridden wastes of Mars – and perhaps even fall in love along the way.

Their journey is filled with trials, but they alone can save the solar system from certain doom.

War's Reward by Michael ChatsfieldWar’s Reward by Michael Chatsfield:

The Second Kalu War rages across known space.

The newly formed Union undergoes it’s first baptism, the baptism of war.
The Free Fleet is barely holding the line against the Kalu. Salchar and the other commanders of the Free Fleet have one goal. Survive.

As war rages politics and power brokering are at work behind the scenes in the Union.

Even if the Free Fleet survives the war, will they survive it’s aftermath?

Callow Lily by Sara CobbCallow Lily by Sara Cobb:

Countries have fallen only to be replaced by corporations. After spending years in the unclaimed districts of the unemployed; Lily has nearly given up hope that anything will change. When she is told that her Mother is dying and nothing more can be done, Lily is desperate enough to try anything.

When her family is offered a position at Trustmedia, Lily thinks that all of their problems are solved. Until she realizes that her acceptance is conditional. She will have to prove that she has what it takes to stay. If she fails, she will be thrown out and never see her family again.

Lily quickly finds that staying will be harder than she expected, even Father seems intent on seeing her fail. Things become complicated when her Father injects her with an unknown substance and she begins to have intensely vivid dreams. Lily is on the verge of having everything she has ever wanted, but does she have what it takes to keep it?

High Flight and Flames by Kate CoeHigh Flight & Flames by Kate Coe:

The land of Quorl is under attack. S’ian, badly injured when her Glider crashed is trapped in a city under siege. Meanwhile out on the plains, Toru is desperately defending his own city and people from the advancing enemy. The fighting is no longer between men: a battle for the air has started, and new weapons force both sides into desperate measures. Even if Toru succeeds in pushing the enemy back from Meton, what will the cost be? Can Toru reconcile his duty to his country with his own dreams?

 

Woven Peril by Jeffrey CollyerWoven Peril by Jeffrey Collyer:

The Guardian’s forces may have left the forest, but they haven’t departed from Michael’s mind as he struggles to learn what his enemy will do next. Torn between feelings of guilt and love, he must now push ahead to find mythical halls deep in the earth, where secrets from the distant past are spoken of, and new riddles unearthed.

Entering dark paths, Michael must learn to use his growing power if he is to discover that which will save the land, at the same time as trying to protect those now under his care from new and deadly monsters sent to hunt him.

And all while he struggles to understand mysteries surrounding his mother.

Woven Peril is the thrilling second book in the Aylosian Chronicles, and continues the epic tale in a world of unusual magic and unique creatures.

Heartfelt Sounds by C.M. EstopareHeartfelt Sounds by C.M. Estopare:

Orphaned Naia Belle is an apprentice songstress, attached for life to her silkhouse in the illustrious pleasure capital of Sorrel, Felicity. But as the dark clouds of war descend upon Felicity, Naia, ill-prepared and not yet fully trained, is forced from her home and into a nightmare she never imagined.

Driven once more from the haven she finds, posing as a boy and conscripted into a foreign army, Naia struggles to remain hopeful in spite of the trials she faces. Then she discovers there are those who wish to reopen Heaven’s Gate and allow titans to walk the mortal realms once more. Only one power can stop them.

As her friends and allies fall around her, beset by sand wraiths and the soulless dead, with everything she loved now lost to her, Naia faces yet another challenge: the blackened plains of the Void, where she may learn the true power of her voice. A power the necromancers and titans would kill to stop.

HEARTFELT SOUNDS, is the first book in the exciting fantasy coming-of-age trilogy, THE WORLD OF SORREL.

The Cauldron's Gift by Marina FinlaysonThe Cauldron’s Gift by Marina Finlayson:

When Vi and her twin sister CJ started spitting frogs and diamonds with every word, they discovered their parents worked for a secret organisation dedicated to keeping the magical denizens of the world safely locked away. Vi thought life couldn’t get any weirder, but then Dad became a bear, and her world really fell apart. Because it’s starting to look like that’s one spell the warders can’t undo. They’re all too busy trying to unmask the traitor who is secretly aiding the Sidhe.

Vi managed to keep the Sidhe from breaking out of their magical prison, but she couldn’t stop the Morrigan from stealing back the great cauldron of the Dagda. And of course now CJ says the only way to save Dad is to get that cauldron back from fairyland. Talk about a suicide mission. Vi would have to be crazy to consider it, but as time runs out for Dad and the Morrigan threatens everyone Vi loves, craziness starts to look like the only sane option.

Noa's Ark by C. GockelNoa’s Ark by C. Gockel

First contact didn’t go as planned…

Time Gate 8, one of humanity’s portals between the stars, has been overrun by a mysterious alien intelligence, and the planet Luddeccea is now cut off.

Haunted by those she left behind, Commander Noa Sato is on a desperate mission to save her homeworld. Navigating the ancient Ark, she seeks a hidden gate that will transport her ship to Earth and the Galactic Fleet. But the Luddeccean system harbors dangers, and so does her crew.

The only crew member she completely trusts is James Sinclair, but he doesn’t trust himself.

James isn’t the man he once was. He has a hunger that is never sated, kills without regrets, and is fitted with extraordinary augments he doesn’t remember getting. Can James control his augments, or will they control him?

In a future where almost all humans are augmented, James’s answer and Noa’s mission will determine the fate of the human race … and the enemy is already within the gates.

Wrong Side of Time by J.J. GreenWrong Side of Time by J.J. Green:

When the greatest minds in the galaxy can’t solve a problem through logic or reason, they call Carrie Hatchett.

Carrie and her reluctant sidekick, Dave, have succeeded in driving the evil mechanical aliens, the placktoids, to their only remaining hiding place—the past. But the danger isn’t over. The Transgalactic Council suspect the placktoids are trying to change the course of history and re-emerge as rulers of the galaxy.

Carrie and Dave are sent on a mission to defeat them, but even attacks from Carrie’s psychotic cat can’t prepare the two for the challenges they face when they travel back in time to the placktoid planet: searing temperatures, a barren landscape and primitive robots with OCD. And waiting in the wings is the placktoid High Commander, whose 3D printing ability is lethal.

Naively optimistic Carrie needs to recognise what’s staring her in the face if she’s to defeat the placktoids and avoid being trapped in the past forever.

Amped by Kevin HardmanAmped: A Kid Sensation Novel by Kevin Hardman:

Electra – the beautiful, unflappable girlfriend of teen super Kid Sensation – headlines her own adventure for the first time.

A foundling adopted and raised by the Alpha League (the world’s greatest superhero team), Electra has exhibited super powers since infancy. However, her past has remained a mystery for the most part, with those few people with any knowledge of her background being reluctant to talk.

Refusing to remain ignorant of her own origins, Electra embarks on a fact-finding mission intent on discovering who she really is. However, in addition to providing more questions than answers, her investigation causes her to cross paths with a powerful group of supervillains, who see in her a means of furthering their goal of world domination.

Finding herself in the crosshairs, Electra must now find a way to stop those seeking to exploit her unique talents for their own nefarious purposes. Because if she can’t, the world will pay a heavy price.

Autonomy by Jude HoughtonAutonomy by Jude Houghton:

Balmoral Murraine works in a Battery, assembling devices she doesn’t understand for starvation pay. Pasco Eborgersen is the pampered son of an Elite, trying to navigate the temptations of the Pleasure Houses, the self-sacrifice of the Faith, and the high-octane excitement of Steel Ball. They never should have met, and now they will rip the world apart.

What happens when ninety percent of the world lives on skaatch – a jellyfish and insect composite?

What happens when mankind spends more time in alternative life sims instead of in the “real” world?

What happens when economic interest is the sole determinant of global decision making?

What happens when a single secret is discovered that calls into question everything we have ever believed?

Welcome to the Autonomy. Welcome to your future.

Beacon's Spark by Jim JohnsonBeacon’s Spark by Jim Johnson:

Twentysomething Rachel Farran dropped out of college after family pressures drove her to the edge. Now disowned by her parents, the only things going for her are her girlfriend, her bestie, and visits to her ailing grandpa, the only member of her family who even really likes her.

When Rachel stumbles into the mystical Veil separating the mortal and spirit worlds, her world is turned inside-out. She soon discovers that she is a Beacon, a descendant of the ancient Fates and a guide for lost souls who can manipulate magical ley threads. But when the malevolent being known as the Spinner harnesses the ley to drag helpless souls through the Veil to devour them, can Rachel learn to control her newfound abilities before her grandpa and many others are lost forever?

Beacon’s Spark is the first book in Potomac Shadows, a new paranormal fantasy series set in the Washington, DC metro area.

Blighters by Tim MajorBlighters by Tim Major:

Them Blighters are everywhere.

They fell out of the sky last year, great horrible armour-plated slugs with razor-sharp fangs. But ugly as they are, they give the ultimate high to anyone nearby: a blissful, gleeful contentment that people are willing to kill for.
Not Becky Stone, though. All she wants is to drink beer, listen to her dad’s old vinyl, and get her life back to how it was before everything was all messed up.
Blighters? Frankly, she could do without them.

“Contains true craft and substance… You’ll finish this novella and immediately start it over again.”
Urban Fantasy Magazine on Carus & Mitch

Five Kingdoms by T.A. MilesFive Kingdoms by T.A. Miles:

With the Celestial Swords and their bearers united, Xu Liang heads for his homeland. Having lost his spiritual connection with the Empress, he is unprepared for the severity of Chaos’ grip on the land and its people. Fear is spreading throughout Sheng Fan. War is in the air. There is dissension in the ranks of the Empire and Xu Liang’s favor with the Empress seems to be in question, his once influential position now tenuous. The coming together of the Blades seems for naught while enemies from within threaten to tear apart his allegiance with the outsiders he dared to bring into Sheng Fan by spreading dangerous rumors. It seems that Xu Liang can do little more than watch as the Dragon continues to rise, every hour clawing its way deeper into the heart of the Empire, which slowly rends itself apart with the governors of the Five Kingdoms taking up arms against each other, as well as against the Song Dynasty. Those allied by the Swords must put Chaos to rest—be it an actual dragon, or war itself—but first they must find peace within themselves and amongst each other.

The Mercy of Men by S. Hunter NisbetThe Mercy of Men by S. Hunter Nisbet:

The anticipated second installment of the Saint Flaherty series moves from the hills of Appalachia to a city where law no longer prevails.

When Simon Flaherty’s routine of training and fighting is interrupted by a sudden eviction, he never expects his new neighbor to be the one person he thought was long gone from Scioto City: Connor Hall.

It’s been six years since they escaped from Buchell together—six years since Connor walked out of Simon’s life and never looked back. For Connor, it hasn’t been long enough. Trapped in a cycle of debt to the syndicate he works for, he’s barely making it payment to payment while juggling two jobs and university. One more burden will destroy him, and the help Simon is willing to give can’t balance the shadows of their past.

Fighting isn’t all Simon’s been doing in the years since arriving in Scioto, and the crime bosses of the city have their eyes on him. Getting involved with another syndicate’s business isn’t an option. But if Connor doesn’t find a way to pay back his debts, Simon will do anything to make sure Connor doesn’t pay the price for breaking a deal with a syndicate boss.

In a city without mercy, “anything” goes a long way.

Prelude to War by T.S. PaulPrelude to War by T.S. Paul:

With the destruction of the Earth ship Colossus the 3rd interstellar war is about to begin. The Cabal plan to reveal their political intentions to the Galaxy, but before they can, they have to eliminate their enemies first. Athena and her whole family are in their sights along with anyone that stands in the way of progress and control. Who will survive the onslaught and who will die? Only time will tell.

Join Athena, Wilson and the CATTs as they set out to prove that might does not equal right!

 

Brother's Pride by Jim RudnickBrother’s Pride by Jim Rudnick:

While the wrecked alien ship on Ghayth provides some interesting new technology, Admiral Scott has nothing on his mind but his upcoming wedding to the Lady St. August. In only a couple of months, he’ll have vows to pledge and a ring to don as he becomes a Royal himself to take the new title of Lord Scott. And the only thing in his way—even though he doesn’t know it, is his sister Gia who has pledged revenge upon him for the death of their sister, Nora.

With the upcoming release of the Ikarian longevity vaccine, the RIM Confederacy realms are all wanting more and more of the vaccines to double their lifetimes, while the Baroness is purposely chocking off the supply. Added to that is the fact that the Master Adept knows what will happen at the wedding and she is hurriedly training her own replacement and the wedding will be where the assassination attempt is made.

But the Master is not the only wedding party member to die at the altar as the admirals sister takes careful aim and screams out her revenge and Tanner falls as do others—all to pay penance for his crime of decades ago…

Felix R. SavageThe Reluctant Adventures of Fletcher Connolly on the Interstellar Railroad: Skint Idjit by Felix R. Savage:

Fletcher Connolly hasn’t got a lot to lose. Since he, and half the galaxy, signed on to the rat race of the technological relics trade, Fletch has long since come to terms with the idea that he will join the ranks of the unlucky explorers that perish lightyears from home without a dime to his name.

As the first mate of an old, decrepit exploration ship–the Skint Idjit–things can’t get much worse. As if that isn’t enough, he has a hard time convincing himself his luck is bound to change when he finds himself stranded on the planet Suckass, on a remote branch of the Interstellar Railroad. With his new assignment an unlikely candidate to hide alien treasures, true to his personality, Fletch settles down to work on his tan.

But when disaster strikes and a member of his crew is killed, Fletch finds himself torn between loyalty to the surviving crew and the siren song of an unsuspected trove of A-tech.

Can Fletch save the Skint Idjit and her crew from a horrible death? Or will he ignore their dying screams and laugh all the way to the bank?

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Christmas in July Sale

13592699_10208780752749912_2699365943989540605_nWriter Stacy Claflin has organised a Christmas in July sale for holiday-themed e-books.

This weekend, more than 80 different e-books will be available for 99 cents or free. Two of mine are included, Christmas Gifts and Christmas Eve at the Purple Owl Café, along with more than 80 other great holiday reads in the genres romance, fantasy, mystery, suspense, humor and inspirational fiction.

The full list of participating books can be found on Stacy Claflin’s site.

So what are you waiting for? Christmas is coming (eventually), so grab yourself some cozy holiday reads now.

Christmas in July

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New Release: Alfred and Bertha return in “The Three Quarters Eaten Dessert”

Alfred and Bertha, those crazy kids of the twenty-first century, are back for a new adventure. This time, they are having dinner with their neighbours, the Hoppenstedts – a dinner which quickly escalates into an argument.

A bit of background: Alfred and Bertha were born in response to the Not Really SF Short Story Challenge issued by writer E.P. Beaumont. At the time, there were a lot of complaints from certain quarters of the SFF sphere that literary writers were invading science fiction with their literary ways and that the virtues, values and scientific rigour of science fiction’s so-called “golden age” were being ignored. So the idea behind the challenge was to stage a counter invasion by writing a mundane short story – the sort of slice of life piece one would expect to find in literary fiction – and write it in the style of science fiction’s “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s, complete with dated gender roles, “As you know, Bob…” dialogue and overexplanation of every mundane bit of technology.

My response to the challenge was The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg, a story about a married couple – Alfred and Bertha von Bülow – arguing at the breakfast table. And because I had so much fun chronicling Alfred and Bertha’s amazing life in the twenty-first century, I wrote more stories about them.

The Three Quarters Eaten Dessert is the latest of those stories. Once again, I borrowed the basic plot from a skit by legendary German comedian Loriot a.k.a. Vicco von Bülow. The skit in question is called Kosakenzipfel (Cossack’s Prick).

Lots of Latin, mansplaining, sciences versus humanities, totally random explanations of taxes, food – this story really has it all. So what are you waiting for? Experience the marvels of the twenty-first century today:

The Three Quarters Eaten Dessert
The Three Quarters Eaten Dessert by Cora BuhlertBertha and Alfred, married for twenty years, enjoy a truly science fictional life in the twenty-first century. But in spite of all the technological marvels surrounding them, an argument about sharing a dessert at an upscale restaurant escalates and threatens their friendship with their neighbours, the Hoppenstedts.

This parodistic piece is a mundane short story of 6000 words or approximately 20 print pages, written in the style of science fiction’s “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s. With bonus recipe.

 

More information.
Length: 6000 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Our Five Year Anniversary

July 3 marks Pegasus Pulp‘s five year anniversary, therefore I should theoretically make another big posts breaking down sales according to vendor and books. However, we crossed the 2000 lifetime sales mark less than a month ago and the percentages haven’t changed that much since then, so if you want to know how we’re doing, just check out that post.

I also hoped to have a new release to announce in time for the anniversary, but while I do have a new book – No. 4 in my Alfred and Bertha’s Marvellous Twenty-First Century Life series of science fiction parodies – currently making its way through the various vendors, it’s not actually available everywhere yet, so I don’t want to officially announce it yet. However, if you’re an ardent Alfred and Bertha fan (and they do have very enthusiastic fans), you can check out the dedicated book page here.

Meanwhile, I’m also trying for a repeat of last year’s July short story challenge, which was to write a short story per day in July, i.e. 31 stories and 31 days. It’s the early days yet, but so far I got three short stories out of this, all of them quite god.

So it’s ever onwards for us here at Pegasus Pulp.

 

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2016

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some May books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have a whole lot of space opera and military science fiction this month as well as postapocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, paranormal romance, epic fantasy, urban fantasy,  young adult fantasy, horror, two awesome short fiction anthologies, vampires, demons, fae, dragons, half-demon PIs, half-vampire PIs, sorcerers, starseers, star rebels, aliens, gargoyles, rock ‘n roll zombies, galactic conspiracies, forced marriages, the end of the world 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:

Gutted: Beautiful Horror StoriesGutted: Beautiful Horror Stories by Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell and others:

GUTTED: BEAUTIFUL HORROR STORIES – an anthology of dark fiction that explores the beauty at the very heart of darkness. Featuring horror’s most celebrated voices, as well as a number of exciting new talents: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia.

What is beautiful horror?
Awe meets ache.
Terror becomes transcendence.
Regret gives way to rebirth.

Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward. With a foreword from Cemetery Dance magazine founder Richard Chizmar. Interior artwork by Luke Spooner. Cover artwork by Caitlin Hackett.

“Truly one of the best anthologies I have ever read.” – Paula Limbaugh, Horror Novel Reviews

Starseers by Lindsay BurokerStarseers by Lindsay Buroker:

The mysterious and powerful Starseers have Captain Alisa Marchenko’s daughter, and she will do whatever she must to get her back, even if it means traveling to their stronghold and confronting them personally. Unfortunately, her strongest ally, the cyborg Leonidas, may become a liability since the cyborgs and the Starseers have a long history of hating each other. It doesn’t help that Leonidas and Dr. Dominguez have a mission of their own, one that could jeopardize all that Alisa is fighting for.

 

Star Rebels anthologyStar Rebels: Stories of Space Exploration, Alien Races and Adventure by Lindsay Buroker, C. Gockel, Patty Jansen, Pippa DaCosta, James R. Wells and others:

There are rebels among the stars…

Meet eleven protagonists battling to save themselves and the ones they love. Human, cyborg, clone, or alien, they’ll find themselves pitted against intergalactic crime bosses, interstellar mercenaries, a quantum-wave-riding collective mind, and the universe itself. Along the way, there’s plenty of action, adventure, humor, and even some romance.

Written by the freshest voices in science fiction, these stories are short, but they’ll light your imagination like a solar flare. Strap yourself in and join the rebellion! Download this collection today.

Features stories by Lindsay Buroker, C. Gockel, Patty Jansen, Pippa DaCosta, James R. Wells, Christine Pope, L.J. Cohen, D.L. Dunbar, Anthea Sharp, Audrey Faye and Kendra C. Highley.

The Water Road by J.D. ByrneThe Water Road by J.D. Byrne:

Two women are about to expose a terrible secret that will turn their world upside down.

For centuries the great river known as the Water Road separated the Altrerians in the north from the Neldathi in the south. When the Neldathi clans united and struck out across the river, the nations of Altreria formed an alliance, the Triumvirate, to drive them back. For more than a hundred years after, the Triumvirate kept the Neldathi barbarians at bay, fighting amongst themselves across the Water Road.

Antrey is a woman without a country, the daughter of a Neldathi mother and an Altrerian father. She’s found a role for herself in Tolenor, the headquarters of the Triumvirate, that’s given her access to a secret the alliance has kept for generations. When she finds it, she explodes with rage and embarks on a quest to find justice for the Neldathi people.

Strefer is a reporter without a story, desperately working the streets of Tolenor for any kind of lead. When Antrey flees the city, Strefer slips in and discovers her uncovered secret, stained with blood and fury. It’s the story of a lifetime, one powerful forces want to keep her from telling. With the help of a renegade Sentinel, Strefer sets out for a mythical city in hopes she can make the world listen to the truth.

Together, they’ll inflame the passions of a people and set the world alight. The Water Road – first book of The Water Road trilogy.

From Furies Forged by Michael ChatfieldFrom Furies Forged by Michael Chatfield:

The Kalu are not a long lost nightmare anymore.
They came from the black.
They destroyed Rosho.
They ravaged Heija.
That was just the scouting force.
They are coming back.
Power those reactors, charge those rail cannons and ready the fighters. The Free Fleet is going to war.

 

 

Branded by Rob CornellBranded by Rob Cornell:

Sorcerer Sebastian Light has long used his powerful magic to corner the market on demon hunting in Detroit. With control over the elements, he can burn through bounties almost as fast as the Ministry can issue them—much to the chagrin of the Motor City’s other hunters. But after a group of vampires taints him with their blood in an effort to turn him, collecting bounties is the least of his worries.

 

 

The Athena Operation by Dalton CortnerThe Athena Operation by Dalton Cortner:

In a future where wars and poverty are quickly on the rise, the universe has hit its ultimate enemy: itself. Once known for their dedication and loyalty to the good of the universe, the seythra, a strong-willed alien race, have attacked and declared war on the rest of the universe. Now, throwing their immense numbers against the opposition of the Confederate Military, hope is dwindling. Trust between factions, races, and planets are weakening by the moment. What caused the seythra to rebel? Why can they no longer be reasoned with? And most importantly, can anyone stop them in time?

Seraph Aydrian, an infamous soldier one reprimand away from termination, must lead an army of soldiers, mercenaries, and civilians against the seythra assault and not only stop the chaos and destruction, but uncover the dark and sinister motives that are driving the murders.

Trial by Fire by Cate DeanTrial by Fire by Cate Dean:

Reese Pierpoint is half human, half fae, and one hundred percent trying to figure out how to live with both sides of her heritage.

When the deaths of three local kids turn out to be sacrifices, Reese finds herself plunged into the world her overprotective mother had been shielding her from all her life.

Bran Malcolm – half human, half demon PI – is on the hunt for the creature responsible for the deaths. A creature who is using the dead children’s blood to create a doorway to escape his prison.

But when Bran crosses paths with Reese, he falls for her – hard – and the distraction has him off his game. Until Reese becomes the focus of the killer’s plan. Now Bran’s on a mission to do anything to keep her safe.

Even if it costs his life.

On sale until July 1!

OfADarkHeartByChrisFosterCoverOf A Dark Heart by Chris Foster:
A supernatural killer. A prophetic gargoyle. A tale of revenge.

Excalem wants vengeance.

His daughter lay cold upon the coroner’s slab. Someone had taken her from this world. Yet there was no trace of harm. There were no answers to the questions he asked. She was simply gone. Pale. Cold. Dead.

Excalem hands in what little morals he had in exchange for the sword.

Walking through the desert, cracked terracotta under his feet and endless blue above he thinks he has gone mad. Or died. He is out of water, out of place and feels out of time. This is a world he didn’t believe in not long ago. Nowhere both its name and description. He cannot stop, he is the cat after the rat but the dog is coming.

Both pursued and pursuing, he knows only one thing.

There will be vengeance.

The Gargoyle said so, and rocks don’t lie.

Eclipse of the Heart by J.L. HendricksEclipse of the Heart by J.L. Hendricks:

Why do I have to be the girl of the prophecy?

Then there is the ripper threat too, everywhere I turn in Sendryl we’re attacked. There’s a car bomb that hurts one of my team members, badly.

All guys are confusing. Fae or Human, doesn’t matter. When it comes to affairs of the heart, they’re all the same. Fillie thinks I can have either one, but do I trust them with my heart?

It may not matter if the trial goes bad or we don’t make it back to Earth.

It’s time for me to put on my big girl panties and make a choice.

This is Book 4 of The Interdimensional Saga

MU-final-smallerMassive Unrest by Michael Hustleborn:

When the dead no longer rest in peace, nobody rests in peace.

Johnny, an American rocker living in Germany, dreams of stardom. Just when it looks like it might happen, people start dying in droves. The problem is they’re not staying dead. Johnny and his new friend Lena are sent scurrying to survive, but while Johnny can definitely rock a crowd, he’s no doomsday prepper. When they team up with a modern-day ax-wielding viking, things start looking up, but all is not as it seems.

A zombie plague is spreading across the planet faster than a joint at a rock concert and the madman who released the virus is still out there. To make matters worse, he’s not even close to being done yet.

As everyone scrambles to find a place that’s defensible against massive hordes of undead, one crucial question remains: Who is the bigger threat, the living or the undead?

Sand & Storm by Patty JansenSand & Storm by Patty Jansen:

The entire world laid to waste. There are no second chances.

The ancient machine that produced icefire was destroyed twenty years ago, but the deadly magic is again on the increase. No one understands why or where it’s coming from.

Icefire controls the weather and massive changes in weather patterns plunge the northern half of the inhabited world in deep drought. The tide of refugees swells, but as long as no one knows where the icefire is coming from, nowhere is safe.

King Isandor sends people to investigate a concentration of icefire in the mountains at the border, but two consecutive patrols both vanish. It appears that, after having suffered badly in wars, the neighbouring country Arania is on the offensive, and is using icefire as weapon. Their culture is harsh and their barbarism knows no boundaries.

Meanwhile two young meteorology students make a string of discoveries about icefire that will change the way the people understand the world. They’re on the threshold of the age of enlightenment, but vital knowledge necessary to save their world may well get lost when war overruns the inhabited world.

Only 99 cent until July 4!

13282786_1218236274877992_970836211_oThe Martian Inheritance by T.S. Paul:

Athena Lee and her sidekick Wilson return for this action packed adventure. Athena is sent to Mars on a secret mission to help capture a war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands. He is hiding on the Planet Mars. Athena has family she had never met on the Red Planet. This is her chance to visit them. The Cabal has given the fugitive shelter and is plotting to rule. Mysteries and plots abound as Athena discovers the meaning of her inheritance.

 

 

Coins for Charon by P.J. PostCoins for Charon by P.J. Post:

This Romance brought to you by the end of the world…

The only way out is the river, two short blocks away.

Jem and Pixie are fighting for their sanity, while Holly lies unconscious, burning with fever. Keats and Casey can only watch her eyes with dread, and be ready should she turn. Sam is fighting for love, for a life and for happiness. Emily is fighting to hold them together.

And they are all looking to Lane for salvation, but he’s out of second chances, out of options and quickly running out of time as the city burns to the ground.

Two blocks might as well be forever, the streets are overrun with Button Eyes. And for as long as they remain, no secret will be safe, no sacrifice will be held sacred, and no life precious; before all is done, Freemont will have its due.

Author’s Note: Coins for Charon is the sixth and final Episode of Feral.

Transition by Olivia RisingTransition by Olivia Rising:

Two years ago, The Pulse—a sudden shift in Earth’s electromagnetic field—caused a global blackout and wiped a minute from mankind’s collective memory. This event introduced superhuman powers to our world and changed everything as we knew it.

Now two young women are caught in the chaos of a changing world:

Christina Chung, an antisocial misfit whose force fields are fueled by the social bonds she broke during the event of her transition.

Former coke addict Sarina Baumann, whose reality-altering power forces her to abandon everything she holds dear.

The girls find themselves entangled with the renegade hero Radiant and the authorities that made him. The three must find a way—and a place—to be the heroes they’re destined to become. But sometimes, even the heroes fall…

Crash Landing by Jim RudnickCrash Landing by Jim Rudnick:

“As the first wisps of atmosphere touched the badly damaged explorer ship, the craft was on it’s own AI–the pilot and nine of the ten occupants were already dead.

The only alive human lay in the robo-doc tank in the rear of the ship where he’d been for almost a full week. He had been injured during an asteroid incursion and had been placed in the robo-doc then. Now he lay half awake, half in a stupor, not knowing that the rest of the Drake’s crew were probably dead.

Boathi sphere ships had come upon the Drake twenty light years out-wards, and had so severely damaged the ship, that even as the pilot lay dying and he kicked it into AI and called on full FTL, their fate looked sealed…

Inside the robo-doc tank, the surviving human lay in the liquid bath surrounding him, and he was still in that stupor of drugged medical aid. While he couldn’t read it, on the interior visor, lay the dashboard with information for the patient—and it appeared he had still another two and a half days in here.

Alone…

Defenseless and in a sealed tank, as the AI would try to keep the robo-doc up and running to enable his recovery…at least that was it’s next task…”

Plague Cult by Jenny SchwartzPlague Cult by Jenny Schwartz:

In a small Texas town a desire for love becomes a curse that could unleash a deadly plague.

Ruth Warner is estranged from her family. She loves them, but her magic makes her an outsider in Bideer, Texas. Ruth has built a new life in New York. She’s a healer at the Collegium, respected and…lonely. Sometimes, you have to go home.

Ruth’s boss orders her to Bideer after a local coroner reports a suspicious death. Could the new cult in town, a lonely hearts club, be playing reckless games with a death curse?

But if Ruth is going home, she’s not going alone.

Shawn Jackson is a Collegium guardian, a mage trained to fight evil. He’s also a man accustomed to keeping secrets. He’s a hollerider, a huntsman; one of those who birthed the legend of the Wild Hunt. When he unleashes his magic, terror rides with him.

As evil stalks an innocent town, the dedicated healer and battle-hardened marine must heal their own broken hearts to prevent a devastating plague.

***
Warning: “Plague Cult” includes a haunted house, an unconventional ghost, and a home renovation love story.

If you love your paranormal romance fast-paced, intense and chilling, “Plague Cult” is irresistible.

3DefendersARCThe Defenders’ Apprentice by Amelia Smith:

The Defenders’ order is dying, but that’s no surprise. After all, they’ve been in hiding for over a hundred years, and apprentices are getting harder to find – hardly anyone can see the dragons any more.

Eppie picked pockets on the streets of Anamat for years before one of the Defenders noticed her. She hid well, but one day she picked the wrong pocket, or was it the right one? She sets out to help try to save the dragon Tiada, but if her mentor and the others fall in the battle, who will defend the dragons against the next set of invaders?

Demon Bane by Jeff SproulDemon Bane by Jeff Sproul:

Forget what you think you know of the universe. This is Sinphoria.

The universe writhes under the influence of sin—a primal bond empowering infernal creatures.
The phoenix Mira is a sentient being born of the stars. Her purpose is to rid the universe of the demonic beings that plague it. The self-governed world of Malstyx is a breeding ground for sin and corruption. Mira’s kin feel that Malstyx is beyond saving. If the situation escalates and threatens other worlds, then they would step in and purge Malstyx of all its inhabitants. It was up to Mira to prove them wrong and keep the shadows at bay.

Apocalypse Hill by Matthew StottApocalypse Hill by Matthew Stott:

The end of the world is just a game.

The Hill arrived in Apoc, in the far north of England, during a storm. The soil was soaked in ancient blood and the grasses that clung to its slopes were slashes of vicious crimson. The Hill did not arrive by chance. The Hill came for a reason.

There’s Mary, who saw her mother murdered when she was still in single digits and is now being pushed to do something dreadful by forces she can’t understand. There’s Bill Reed, trying to distract himself from worrying about his daughter by focussing on his latest novel, who finds himself waking to a world of familiar faces turned monstrous. And then there’s Alice, a horror movie loving young girl sat in a car alone in the night as she awaits her Dad’s return, trying to ignore the unnatural noises creeping from the shadows outside.

Dark forces are at play in Apoc Hill. The inhabitants will become unwilling pawns in an ancient game between the darkness and the light. An ancient game that could see the entire world laid waste.

‘Apocalypse Hill’ is the first part in author Matthew Stott’s thrilling new supernatural fantasy miniseries.

The Matching by Angeline TreveneThe Matching by Angeline Trevena:

There was a time when a girl’s wedding day was the happiest day of her life.

In Falside, girls are a rare commodity; protected, controlled, and tracked by the administration. They spend their days idly waiting to be married off to the highest bidder.
When the marriage announcements include Tale’s lover, Freda, the women will do anything to stop the match from happening.
Their relationship is forbidden, and as members of the resistance, they’re already risking everything.
But as their attempts to stop the wedding fail, both women have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice for love.

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New Shattered Empire novella available: Conspirators

Not only did we cross the threshold of 2000 lifetime booksales two days ago, no, I also have a new release out, namely a prequel novella to my Shattered Empire space opera series.

The prequel is set approximately six years before Mercy Mission and chronicles how and why Ethan’s father Lord Jonathan Summerton ended up collaborating with the Rebellion, a decision which will eventually cost him as well as almost his entire family their lives.

Coincidentally, after writing the prequel, I suddenly felt a lot worse about killing off the rest of the Summerton family, because they had suddenly become a lot more real to me, even though we only meet Ethan’s father and mother on the page in Conspirators.

In addition to Lord Jonathan Summerton, we also meet Rebel leader Arthur Madden as well as his impressive second-in-command Alanna Greyskull again. The character of Alanna was something of an afterthought who initially only came about, because I figured that even in the liberal atmosphere of the Rebel headquarters on Pyrs, people couldn’t just walk into the office of the Rebel leader. There had to be some kind of gatekeeper and that’s where Alanna Greyskull came in (in a deleted scene from Seedlings). Alanna eventually showed up on the published page near the end of Debts to Pay to give Carlotta a hard time. Alanna Greyskull has a much bigger role in Conspirators and we also learn a lot more about her, including how she came to join the Rebellion in the first place. I’ve become very fond of Alanna by now, since she’s a great character to write. And by the way, Alanna and Arthur Madden have really never been a couple, though they bicker like one, because Alanna doesn’t swing that way.

The space marine guy on the cover is a bit of false advertising BTW, for even though there is an action scene in the middle involving a firefight and a narrow escape from Imperial security forces (who are kind of space marine like), most of the story actually features people eating, talking and getting to know each other. However, stock art options for space opera not actually set on spaceships are rather limited. And since Conspirators features three main characters over forty, forget about finding any kind of reasonably representative images at the usual stock sites. So it came down to either a futuristic cityscape or a space marine dude. And since I already did the first for Partners in Crime, I decided to go with the second for Conspirators.

So move along, cause this book does not actually contain any Nutty Nuggets. However, if you want something a bit different from your SF…

Conspirators
Conspirators by Cora BuhlertLord Jonathan Summerton, husband, father, lord of Caswallon and current head of one of the oldest families in the Empire. For too many years, he turned a blind eye to the abuses perpetrated by the Emperor and his followers. But now that his homeworld is under threat, he is no longer willing to stay silent.

Arthur Madden, miner’s son from Askvig IV turned Rebel leader turned most wanted man in the universe. He has dedicated his life to fighting the Empire and putting an end to injustice and inequality. However, in order to achieve that goal, he needs allies, including some who seem to represent everything he fights against.

Alanna Greyskull, former commander in the Imperial Navy. Court-martialled for refusing to scorch a planet full of unarmed civilians, she escaped the firing squad and wound up joining the Great Galactic Rebellion, because there was nowhere else she could go. Ever since then she has been trying to bring some semblance of organisation to the chaotic rabble that makes up the Rebellion, while plotting to make the Empire pay for what was done to her.

When these three meet in a nameless restaurant on the planet Wei Xiu II, lives are changed and history is made and the universe will never be the same…

This is a prequel novella of 24000 words or approximately 82 pages in the Shattered Empire universe, but may be read as a standalone.

More information.
Length: 24000 words
List price: 2.99 USD, EUR or 1.99 GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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The Big 2000

Last night, Pegasus Pulp crossed the 2000 lifetime sales threshold. I know that’s not much compared to some indies who sell ten thousands, hundred thousands or even millions of books, but it’s still a reason to celebrate for me.

It also shows that Pegasus Pulp‘s sales are growing slowly but steadily, as our line expands. We celebrated our 1000th sale in January 2015, i.e. it took one and a half years for the second thousand sales. Meanwhile, the first thousand took three and a half years.

As with previous milestones, let’s take a look at the sales breakdown according to retailer: Continue reading

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2016

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some April books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have a whole lot of space opera and military science fiction this month as well as hard science fiction, paranormal romance, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, Asian inspired fantasy, young adult fantasy, horror, fairytales, werewolves, dragons, ghosts, fae, fairytale curses, dark gnomes, iceslingers, squid creatures, tentacled horrors from the deep, alien invasions, superheroes, space marines, galactic conspiracies, troubled space captains 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:

Kraken Island by Eric S. BrownKraken Island by Eric S. Brown:

Colonel Brannon Jackson’s Reapers are the toughest, deadliest, black ops squad that America has at her disposal. When the mission can’t afford to fail, the Reapers are the ones on the sharp end. A group of doomsday cultists determined to bring about the end of humanity is the Reapers’ latest target but this time even the Reapers may not be able to save the world as a prehistoric monster rises to claim the Earth’s seas as its own.

 

 

Conspirators by Cora BuhlertConspirators by Cora Buhlert:

Lord Jonathan Summerton, husband, father, lord of Caswallon and current head of one of the oldest families in the Empire. For too many years, he turned a blind eye to the abuses perpetrated by the Emperor and his followers. But now that his homeworld is under threat, he is no longer willing to stay silent.

Arthur Madden, miner’s son from Askvig IV turned Rebel leader turned most wanted man in the universe. He has dedicated his life to fighting the Empire and putting an end to injustice and inequality. However, in order to achieve that goal, he needs allies, including some who seem to represent everything he fights against.

Alanna Greyskull, former commander in the Imperial Navy. Court-martialled for refusing to scorch a planet full of unarmed civilians, she escaped the firing squad and wound up joining the Great Galactic Rebellion, because there was nowhere else she could go. Ever since then she has been trying to bring some semblance of organisation to the chaotic rabble that makes up the Rebellion, while plotting to make the Empire pay for what was done to her.

When these three meet in a nameless restaurant on the planet Wei Xiu II, lives are changed and history is made and the universe will never be the same…

This is a prequel novella of 24000 words or approximately 82 pages in the Shattered Empire universe, but may be read as a standalone.

Star Nomad by Lindsay BurokerStar Nomad by Lindsay Buroker

The Alliance has toppled the tyrannical empire. It should be a time for celebration, but not for fighter pilot Captain Alisa Marchenko. After barely surviving a crash in the final battle for freedom, she’s stranded on a dustball of a planet, billions of miles from her young daughter. She has no money or resources, and there are no transports heading to Perun, her former home and the last imperial stronghold.

But she has a plan.

Steal a dilapidated and malfunctioning freighter from a junkyard full of lawless savages. Slightly suicidal, but she believes she can do it. Her plan, however, does not account for the elite cyborg soldier squatting in the freighter, intending to use it for his own purposes. As an imperial soldier, he has no love for Alliance pilots. In fact, he’s quite fond of killing them.

Alisa has more problems than she can count, but she can’t let cyborgs, savages, or ancient malfunctioning ships stand in her way. If she does, she’ll never see her daughter again.

Guilty by Association by E.A. CopenGuilty by Association by E.A. Copen:

Everything’s bigger in Texas… Including the monsters.

When a young werewolf is murdered on the Paint Rock Supernatural Reservation, the local cops think it’s a drug deal gone bad. BSI agent Judah Black knows better. An occult expert, she knows magick is at work from the beginning. Using only her wits, knowledge of the supernatural and her limited magickal abilities, she must untangle a web of cover-ups and lies before the killer finds his next victim.

 

The First New Martians by Eric W. DeakinThe First New Martians by Eric W. Deakin:

A Novel by Eric W. Deakin about how Humankind began the ascent to the stars via inner space and those who made it possible. How an old soldier, his dog and a young Aboriginal girl, with help from the Axis Engineers, changed the history of humankind forever. How more money than the collective wealth of the entire world was spent on this mission.

 

 

The Fairytale Curse by Marina FinlaysonThe Fairytale Curse by Marina Finlayson:

Most people only wake up with hangovers after parties. Seventeen-year-old Violet wakes up with frogs falling out of her mouth whenever she speaks, and her twin sister CJ’s dripping diamonds with every word. As if starting at a new high school wasn’t hellish enough, they’ve been hit with a curse straight out of a fairy tale, with not a handsome prince in sight.

Apparently Mum and Dad don’t work for the military after all, but for a secret organisation dedicated to keeping the magical denizens of the world safely locked away. These are not the harmless fairies of children’s tales, but powerful beings with a score to settle for their long years of imprisonment. Now the barriers are failing, and if Vi can’t find answers fast the world will be overrun with vengeful fairies. And then there’ll be no happily ever after for anyone.

Video Game Recruiting by Tom GermannVideo Game Recruiting by Tom Germann:

Science Fiction and the Scientists lied…..

There was no golden age of discovery. No FTL or Galactic Federations. At first contact we found out how wrong we had been about the future.

Then a failed alien invasion had crushed our reborn hope.

Tim grew up a normal kid. He went to school and spent time with friends. After all ‘work hard, play hard’ is the way people live now.

All Tim had ever wanted was a nice entry level management position somewhere. Preferably in The Glentol Corporation. He didn’t know that he would become involved in something much bigger.

There have never been many successful candidates for Marine training. The requirements are high and only a few successfully complete training every year. Humanity needs every Marine it has and more.

Tim will be put into a situation where he will discover the sabotage in the recruiting program. Will he be able to expose the cause and fix it? Or will he fail and watch as the experimental video game recruiting process is shut down?

Without the Marines how will humanity survive when the aliens come back?

The First Chill of Autumn by W.R. GingellThe First Chill of Autumn by W.R. Gingell:

Llassar is an occupied country– but nobody seems to know it.

Fae began to filter slowly into the land shortly after the birth of the crown princess, Dion ferch Alawn, supposedly fleeing a dark threat in Faery known as the Guardians. But that was fifteen years ago, and now there isn’t a town in Llassar that isn’t populated by or under the control of the fae.

Smaller, weaker, and less talented at magic, Llassarians are quickly finding out that there’s no fighting the invasion that crept in so quietly and politely. Even the castle isn’t free of fae: those closest to the king and queen are faery advisors.

When Dion ferch Alawn returns from a carefully sanitised tour of Outer Llassar, the most exciting thing she expects from the near future is the present her twin sister Aerwn promised for their seventeenth birthday.

Then her carriage breaks down, and Dion gets a taste of what the real Llassar has become: desperate, enslaved, and ripe for rebellion. Getting home safely is just the first problem she faces: the real struggle begins when Dion returns to the castle. Her new knowledge is inconvenient and unwelcome– to declare it, treason.

Carl Sagan's Hunt for Intelligent Life in the Universe by C. GockelCarl Sagan’s Hunt for Intelligent Life in the Universe by C. Gockel:

Sometimes intelligent life is right in front of your whiskers.

Hsissh is a member of The One. There are some newcomers to The One’s homeplanet. They call themselves “humans,” and they are, frankly, mentally deficient–they can’t warp the quantum world with their minds. However, Hsissh is becoming attached to one of them, a Miss Noa Sato.

When The One decide they will wipe out the humans and Noa’s life is on the line, Hsissh is forced to take sides … he might find intelligent life where The One least expect it.

Blackwater Val by William GormanBlackwater Val by William Gorman:

Something isn’t quite right in the Val.

Richard Franklin has left his Midwestern roots behind to live on the coast of Maine with his family. But in the autumn of the year 2000, he must return to his Illinois birthplace on a sorrowful journey. His wife Michelle has been killed in New England by a hit-and-run driver who is never found, so back home he comes with her cremated remains, to fulfill a final wish and on her birthday scatter her ashes in the park along the river in Blackwater Valley—simply Blackwater Val to locals—the small town where they both grew up and fell in love.

With him he brings his six-year-old daughter Katie who still grieves for her lost mother: Katie, who can sometimes guess who’s going to be on the phone before it rings. Who can stop all the clocks in the house, and break up clouds in the sky with her mind, and heal sicknesses, and who sometimes sees things that aren’t there . . . people who are no longer alive. All gifts she inherited from her mother.

Only something isn’t quite right in the Val.

Sinkholes are opening up, revealing the plague pits the sleepy hamlet was built over in the 1830s, when malaria and cholera outbreaks ran riot. Mysterious bird and fish die-offs begin to occur, and Katie can see ghosts of the dead gathering all around. But what she can’t see is the charred, centuries-old malevolence which has been waiting for her, and wants her for its very own. Or the pale Sallow Man who haunts the town’s nighttime streets . . . or the river witch—another Blackwater Val, of sorts—each of whom will be drawn one by one into the nightmarish bloodletting about to take place.

Iceslinger by John HegenbergerIceslinger by John Hegenberger:

A deadly showdown on frozen Ganymede . . . an experiment in time travel that has unexpected results . . . the dead being brought back to life—to sell insurance . . . a legendary villain seeking to summon a strange visitor from another planet . . .

These are only some of the ventures into the fantastic and bizarre to be found in ICESLINGER, the latest collection from acclaimed author John Hegenberger. These classic tales of science fiction and fantasy are filled with action, big ideas, humor, and drama. Step into the many worlds of John Hegenberger and prepare to be entertained!

Weller Franks by R.D. HendersonWeller Franks by R.D. Henderson:

From the author of the Nambroc Sequence, here is Weller Franks, the second novella in the Water Falcon Trilogy, his next fantasy series.

Weller Franks, a dark gnome, owes a great deal of money to a halfling crime lord named Tom Bolden who operates in the Fairy Realm.
Franks desires nothing more than getting out from underneath the thumb of Bolden, disposing of the Franks persona, and return to his old life as a smuggler on the high seas in the Earth Realm.

While Weller dreams of his old life, the gnome works as a portal operator for Portal Travel, Inc. which is a company that takes passengers and cargo from one realm to another. Traveling by portal is the only mode of travel between the realms, and Portal Travel, Inc. is the only company that provides this service.

Sometimes, Tom or one of his underlings would order Weller to smuggle, narcotics, illicit magic items, and unregistered weapons in his portal which is a crime.

Weller is not so much bothered by committing crimes when his smuggling contraband in his portal. The gnome, however, is very hot and bothered that he is not getting a larger percentage from each illicit transaction. The problem also for the gnome was the more revenue he generated for Tom did not necessarily mean the amount of money he owed the halfling is getting less.

After doing some good work for Tom, but still owing money to the halfling, Weller is told that he would be returning to the high seas and would be able to get rid of the Weller Franks persona. The gnome should be estatic and happy that his dreams become a reality, but he is not. Why is that?

Ambassador by Patty JansenAmbassador: Blue Diamond Sky by Patty Jansen:

As Cory takes a well-earned rest and finally submits to proper weapons training, he and a couple of people from his household go on a hunting trip in the marshland between Barresh and the turquoise sea. A bad storm has come through recently and on a deserted beach, Cory finds something Earthly that doesn’t belong there: a message in a bottle, a piece of paper with HELP scratched on it with a sharp object. In Isla.

Cory has a list of all humans in Barresh: it’s very short and no one is missing. A few days later, he receives a curious message through official channels, from a woman on Earth whose rich businessman husband went on a trip of a lifetime “in a place where you can surf with plesiosaurs in turquoise waves”.
Cory knows the guy advertising the trip. He’s a shady character. He also knows where the “plesiosaurs” are. They’re not particularly friendly. Not to mention that the area is on the land of a viciously territorial Pengali tribe.

As it turns out, those are the least of his worries.

A child of the Pink Moon by Floyd LooneyA Child of the Pink Moon by Floyd Looney:

Nel is an ordinary seventeen year old, worried about her super-powers, scared that she could be drafted and the possibility of a deadly showdown with her stalker.

Nel has been in institutions most of her life, since her family gave her up when she exhibited signs of having super powers. Now there are super-powered teenagers around the world being drafted by governments for combat. While the world rushes into super-powered warfare, Nel must deal with a super-powered stalker who wants to kill her.

 

The Green Dragon by Salvador MercerThe Green Dragon by Salvador Mercer:

A thousand years ago, on the world of Claire-Agon, a war raged between men and dragons.

In Vulcrest, nearly a century before the Great Dragon War, a boy’s life was changed forever. Sheltered by a Druid of the Arnen, Elly Brown was raised in the druidic order destined to confront his childhood terror and become one of the most feared defenders in all of Agon, Elister the Druid.

Near the heart of Vulcrest’s Greenfeld Forest, the heir to the throne, Helvie, and her Paladin protector, Fist of Astor, Lucina, investigate a strange series of murders while the sinister Kesh ally with Vulcrest’s ancient enemy, the realm of Ekos in an attempt to dominate the frontier realm, laying siege to its capital, Vulkor.

Facing the destruction of her realm, Helvie must unite with an unlikely group of companions to free her homeland, but a deadly, ancient, woodland nemesis has other plans.

Helvie soon discovers that, in the world of Claire-Agon, when dealing with a Green Dragon, sometimes rules were meant to be broken.

Six Celestial Swords by T.A. MilesSix Celestial Swords by T.A. Miles:

Inspired by the rising chaos in Sheng Fan, Xu Liang, mystic and officer of the Imperial Court, leaves his homeland for the barbarian outer lands in search of four magical blades to unite with two sacred weapons already in the possession of the Empire. His plan is to bring all of the blades together and return them to Sheng Fan’s Empress as a symbol of unity that will bolster the people’s faith in the Imperial family and assist against the surge of dark forces.

 

 

The Lost Pilot by T.S. PaulThe Lost Pilot by T.S. Paul:

Before Athena Lee and the worlds that she knew there was an embattled Earth.

Earth was in turmoil before the first colony ship was launched. The Cyber Wars raged across the planet as country battled country. The war was fought until only the Major Powers were victorious. In the aftermath, the United Nations came into it’s own. Warriors, trained and bred to be the best the world had ever seen emerged from the shadows, bringing order and control out of the chaos of the Cyber Wars. Sam was one such warrior. Born and bred to serve he followed his orders and became one of the best pilots in the service. The future of man lay in the stars. Colonization was a good way to rid society of the undesirables of Earth. He volunteered to start a new colony and spread Earth’s power.

This is the Prequel for the Athena Lee Chronicles.

Sins of the Father by K.L. PhelpsSins of the Father by K.L. Phelps:

Kat Parker was looking forward to a nice normal night out with her boyfriend—though nothing is truly normal when you can see and talk with the dead. However, when Damian arrives with news that his estranged father has been killed, date night quickly turns into a trip to Vegas, the supernatural capital of the world. Whoever said romance was dead?

As a former detective for the Vegas Police Department, Damian is well aware of his father’s shady business dealings, but he’s still surprised when he’s confronted by an unstable squid-faced creature demanding he deliver on his father’s final deal.

With time running short and the creature’s patience running even shorter, Kat must help to figure out who killed Damian’s father and how to deliver on his final debt. Otherwise, Kat may have more to worry about than playing middleman to a postmortem family reconciliation or figuring out if her pet turtle has a gambling problem.

Falling Dusk by Jennifer R. PoveyFalling Dusk by Jennifer R. Povey:

Anna McKenzie just wants her life back. She wants the brutal murder of her brother never to have happened. She certainly doesn’t want magic, power, and to deal with a certain vigilante named Victor Prince…

…but once the world of magic has claimed her, there is no escape.

 

 

Eons Semester by Jim RudnickEons Semester by Jim Rudnick

Jilted by his Royal fiancee, captain Tanner Scott is assigned to Eons and the newly constructed RIM Naval Academy buildings and the duty is anything but a reward. His days are full of squabbling University professors and construction types all nitpicking for changes to plans and additions and extra and the boredom of detail is a horrible side-effect.

As he learns, there is more to looking after a successful construction project than being at the top of the heap and the machinations of the Issians who run Eons and it’s mind-readers comes to him for help. He knows that the Baroness is somehow also involved but the openness of the Master Adept and her Inner Circle that controls Eons is what is so surprising to him.

As the Naval Academy is finally ready to open and the heads of state of many of the RIM Confederacy planets arrive, the protesters against the Issians make their play to publicly humiliate the Inner Circle and their own plans to strengthen their ranks via the death of twins and Tanner must find a way to quell the uprising…

Fatal Blade by Eric ThomsonFatal Blade by Eric Thomson:

Someone was setting fire to the Commonwealth Rim, nurturing a storm to drag humanity through the horrors of colonial warfare and thereby hasten the rise of Empire. Their plan had just one fatal flaw: it didn’t count on an ex-Marine pathfinder with a grudge, a dagger and a deadly partner. Zack Decker had seen enough of war to know this one had to be stopped before it turned into an all-out bloodbath, even if that meant ignoring orders and risking his mission as well as his life. After all, he was still one of the Few…

 

Hunted by Magic by Jasmine WaltHunted by Magic by Jasmine Walt:

With the sudden disappearance of Iannis, the Chief Mage, Solantha has erupted into pandemonium. Citizens are rioting in the streets, the Mages Guild is on a misguided warpath, and shifters and humans are fleeing the city in droves. Ridden with guilt, Sunaya defies the Mages Guild and goes off in search of Iannis, trekking into dangerous, uncivilized territory to try and make things right. But Sunaya’s relationship with Iannis isn’t the only thing at stake — if she doesn’t find him soon, the Resistance might just succeed in plunging the Northia Federation into a devastating and bloody civil war.

Buried Desire by A.E. WaspBuried Desire by A.E. Wasp:

The vengeful ghost of a murdered girl stalks the innocent. A forbidden passion ignites in the dark. Secrets of the past that doom the present rise with the dead at Eden Lake.

For Nikolai and Alexei, their jobs at Camp Nevele were supposed to be a break from real life, a last deep breath of freedom before returning to their family and the traditional marriages arranged for them. But the peace of the summer is shattered when the ghost of a brutally murdered girl begins to kill.

Even within his Romany family, Alexei has always been different. Gifted with the sight, he’s lived his life knowing something dark hunts them. A being from the otherworld unwilling to stop until it gets what it wants…and what it wants is Nikolai.

As the boys struggle to put the spirit to rest before it kills again, they find it harder and harder to deny the passion burning between them.

Despite the deep taboos of their upbringing, desire ignites between the young men and they are left with a devastating choice between holding on to each other and losing everything they’ve ever known. But the very love that binds them together may separate them forever and the choice may not be theirs to make.

Fans of the supernatural and passionate stories of first love will fall in love with the fantasy romance of Nikolai and Alexei and their desperate struggle to stay together.

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