Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month: June 2014

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.

This is the biggest indie speculative fiction round-up to date, featuring 29 SF, fantasy and horror books. Again, we have a broad spectrum of titles, featuring space opera, epic fantasy, Steampunk, Chinese historical fantasy, Norse mythology, dystopian fiction, bizarro fiction, urban fantasy, vampires (Stuart, Icelandic and celebrity), witches, necromancers, fantasy romance, YA fantasy, zombies, the afterlife, techno exorcists, Romans in space, deadly plagues, science fiction romance, short story collections and much more.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

If you’re looking for more indie speculative fiction, check out the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a new blog devoted to all things indie speculative fiction.

And now on to the books:

Follow the Faery Footpath by Nicholas AndrewsFollow the Faery Footpath by Nicholas Andrews

When the Thrillseekers reunited, they did not know the treasure they sought was the first marker of the Faery Footpath, a journey which would lead them to a godstone… one half of magic’s last earthly legacy. With Len-Ahl the Stonechaser leading the way, they seek the second marker within the iconic tomb of an ancient king. For with the Elemental Stone, they can put an end to the ambitions of Queen Qabala, as well as the evil power she serves.

However, Qabala has not been idle. Even as her forces prepare for war with the east, the holder of the world’s other remaining godstone trails after Nerris and his companions. Her allies are not only human, but from beyond the world as well. A ferocious dragon is spotted in the Tormalian skies, and a deadly beast known as the Malkind awakens from its ancient imprisonment.

The Thrillseekers must also contend with internal struggles as new faces join their journey, and unscrupulous agents seek to destabilize the alliance of the eastern kingdoms. Nerris and Len-Ahl find they must hold true to their quest, and to each other, as the fight for the fate of the world draws near.

This is the sequel to Secrets of the Stonechaser.

Forgotten Tigers by Annie BelletForgotten Tigers and Other Stories by Annie Bellet

From a grim near future to ghostly forests on far flung planets, from lost loves to magic gone awry, this collection of ten short stories brings you fully imagined tales of science fiction and fantasy.
Forgotten Tigers & Other Stories contains seven brand new and three previously published stories.

Includes the stories “Forgotten Tigers”, “The Crimson Rice Job”, “Innocence, Rearranged”, “Falls the Shadow on Broken Stone”, “Singing Each to Each”, “Nos Morituri Te Salutamus”, “Somebody Else’s Problem”, “Ghosts in the Mist”, “Infinitesimal Mercies” and “FUBAR”

Heaven's Price by V.M. BlackHeaven’s Price by V.M. Black

Yin Lihua will to pay heaven’s price to save everything she loves in this historical fantasy short story….

In the age of China’s Three Kingdoms, great forces fight over the corpse of the Han Empire. Among the leaders that emerge from the chaos, the Duke of Shan and the King of Tian stand apart. They are no ordinary Chinese noblemen. They are vampires, and with their armies, they vie for ultimate control of the Central Kingdom.

Lady Yin is the Duke of Shan’s consort, bound to him eternally, heart, mind, and body. The mother of his heir, she will do anything to keep her lord and her child from falling into the hands of the enemy.

Anything at all.

Heaven’s Price contains explicit sexual content and is not intended for minors. It is not a romance. Fans of Chinese historical drama will find this story both interesting and refreshing.

Grimoire by T.M. BladesGrimoire by T.M. Blades

Brenton is the town with no shadow, or the town where no one dies. When a budding necromancer inherits an old house, a grimoire, and a familiar, in the form of a crow the town starts to see a lot of strange happenings.Toss in a demon named Cain with his own agenda and an unlikely ally in the form of a preacher and you may have a recipe for disaster. Zane wants to use his black magic to keep people in town from passing on, but will it all catch up to him in the end?

Grimoire is a monthly serial. Each installment between 12,000 and 20,000 words. The books are meant to be read in order, but they are all their own story. If you’re not familiar with serials you can think of them like television shows for books!

Duplicity by Stacy ClaflinDuplicity by Stacy Claflin

Alrekur Vidarsson had to wait three thousand years to finally fall in love. He spent two thousand years searching for her, but then she found him, awaking him from death.

Unfortunately, she was engaged to another, and Alrekur had to wait another eighty years. Finally, he won her over and they got their happily ever after…except that it won’t be that easy.

The birth of their daughter has awakened the entire dragon species, who had been sleeping since before Alrekur was born. The dragons have their sights set on Alrekur’s family, and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want, not caring if they destroy everyone he loves in the process.

Blood Sacrifice by K.J. ColtBlood Sacrifice by K.J. Colt

With the threat of the Queens’ army increasing, only blood healing can save South Senya. Adenine continues her journey alone, encountering constant danger and tragic loss. Clutching at the strands of her sanity, Adenine barely makes it to Juxon City where the king proves untrustworthy and hostile.

The Queens quickly destroy all Adenine’s hope for the kingdom of Senya. Under their rule, the people are doomed. She has allies, but they are too few to take back the city. The only one who can challenge the Queens is the emperor of Bivinia: a monster responsible for the deaths of hundreds of healers. She must convince him to invade Senya, replacing one evil for another.

This is the third book in the Healers of Meligna series, following Concealed Power and Blood Healing.

Fallen Down World by K.E. DouglasFallen Down World by K.E. Douglas

Florida was supposed to be all sunny beaches and Disney World, the perfect vacation. Instead, fifteen-year-old Dani is the only member of her family not struck with a ferocious new flu. Now the only part of Florida she cares about is the road out. Home is what her family needs, but home is a thousand miles away.

Dani’s family aren’t the only ones who are sick. The hospitals and highways are littered with the dead and dying. Dani is soon adrift in a world where she struggles to find food and fuel as she tries to get her family home. In this terrifying new world, every stranger is a threat and each mile is a battle.

But home isn’t the salvation Dani hopes for. Now, she needs to survive in a world that will never be the same.

Benton by Jolie du PreBenton: A Zombie Novel by Jolie du Pré

Zombies have killed everyone in the Benton household–all except twenty-something Jennifer. She’s escaped her bedroom, but what now? Waterbank, Illinois is overrun. Where can she go?

A chance encounter with seven other young survivors points her toward Texas. A charismatic, handsome young man named Mark says he can lead them all to his family’s ranch. He’s sure they’ll be safe there. Jennifer wants to trust him, with her life and possibly her heart.

There’s no place else to go, there’s no way to escape the zombies but through, and there’s no telling if Jennifer and Mark will live long enough to act on the emotion building between them.

91kdBMM5qeL._SL1500_Haunting Echoes by Caethes Faron

Amaia was one of the most sought after courtesans in King James’s London when she became a vampire. Together with her sire, Lawrence, she works to birth a new, more powerful race of vampires. She has everything she could want: wealth, prestige, and eternal life.

She fears nothing. That is, until Michael, the first man she killed, walks into a tavern twenty-three years after she killed him. He has more reason than most to hate her; he’s the man who gave her the engagement ring she still wears. She’s convinced he’s come back from the grave for one purpose: to destroy her.

Michael’s gray eyes haunt Amaia until she surrenders and goes to him. If her clan finds out about her obsession, they’ll kill her and him. But if she stays away, she’ll go mad. Both paths lead to destruction, and it’s up to Amaia to find a way to keep herself and Michael alive, whether Michael still loves her or not.

Shade City by Domino FinnShade City by Domino Finn

Dante Butcher is a twenty-four-year-old programmer living alone in Los Angeles. At least, that’s the part of him people see. He doesn’t tell them he dreams of the Dead Side: a skewed land of past and present inhabited by shades.

Dreams are one thing, but matters are complicated when the dead don’t agree to stay that way. Shades like to drink and smoke and revel in the pleasures of the flesh. They cling to the physical world, but they can’t stand here on their own. They need to attach to something tangible. Usually that means other people.

Possession. It is a means for the dead to hide in plain sight. But Dante Butcher is more than he appears as well. He can see them. The shades. The fakers. And he’s not at all alone either. He’s haunted by the ghost of a murdered little girl who may end up being his only ally. Yet, as Dante gets more involved with the machinations of the dead, he learns one important truth: you can’t trust shades.

Quantum ZooQuantum Zoo, edited by D.J. Gelner and J.M. Ney-Grimm

From a ghost park to a time-travel penitentiary of murderers to a menagerie of Egyptian deities, Quantum Zoo presents 12 compelling stories involving 12 very different living exhibitions. Includes stories by D.J. Gelner, Sarah Stegall, A.C. Smyth, S.E. Batt, Ken Furie, Scott Dyson, John Hindmarsh, Morgan Johnson, R.S. McCoy, Frances Stewart, J.M. Ney-Grimm as well as Hugo and Nebula nominee Bridget McKenna.

 

 

The Slip by C. GockelThe Slip by C. Gockel

It’s only been a few days since Veterinarian Amy Lewis escaped Asgard with the FBI’s professional hacker, Bohdi Patel. The escape involved “borrowing” Odin’s magical, world-walking, eight-legged, horse, Sleipnir. Now Odin wants Sleipnir back. FBI Director Steve Rogers doesn’t want Odin getting anything he wants. Amy and Bohdi want to set Sleipnir free. The horse has his own ideas. A story (mostly) from Sleipnir’s point of smell.

 

Reckless Recon by Rinelle GreyReckless Recon by Rinelle Grey

Following his brother half way across the galaxy seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hadn’t hit him just how much he was giving up. Stir-crazy after three weeks in space, Kerit, professional surfer turned interstellar colonist, jumps at the chance to get off the ship and onto the new planet’s surface—even if it is a little inhospitable.

He expects searing heat. He expects acid rain. He even expects the sunburn from hell. What he doesn’t expect is to meet Folly—the most prickly, irritating, and fascinating girl he’s ever known. And he needs her help if they want to make this planet their new home.

Determined to find her father’s ship and prove he was a brilliant scientist, Folly has no interest in getting to know Kerit. The cute stranger is just a distraction. Unless of course he can help her in her search…

But something sinister lurks in the ruined city, and neither of them realise how much they are going to have to rely on each other if they want to make it out alive.

Reckless Recon is the third book in the Barren Planet Romance series, following Reckless Rescue and Reckless Rebellion.

A Season of Kings by Duane GundrumA Season of Kings by Duane Gundrum

The Tales of Reagul is the story of the sorcerer Sarbonn who is chosen by the “gods” to act as their representative and the planet’s protector.

During the dawn of the Roman Empire, a segment of the population is transplanted onto another planet as part of an alien sociological experiment. This planet, Reagul, develops a new history as its people slowly begin to realize they will never return home again.

Sarbonn, gifted with the science of the aliens (“the gods”), discovers they have been abandoned by the aliens, leaving them to forge their own destiny in a lonely corner of the stars.

The first book involves their colonization of this new world, their struggles with survival, greed and the realization that they are not alone. Previous civilizations have been transplanted to this planet before them. And Sarbonn discovers he’s not the first sorcerer, and that the previous ones may not be all that welcoming to the new inhabitants.

Bound in Blue by Heather Hamilton-SenterBound in Blue by Heather Hamilton-Senter

Gods walk among us—all you have to do is See.

High school senior Rhiannon Lynne couldn’t get noticed even if she walked stark naked into the cafeteria and started playing the banjo. While tap dancing. As if that weren’t strange enough, Rhi has synesthesia—she feels in color. It takes being almost drowned by a Celtic river goddess for her to discover she’s been bound by a spell that has hidden her from the world and her own mysterious heritage.

As Rhi starts to see that her colors belong to magic, she finds herself at the center of a conflict between gods, humans, and the lost world of Avalon. She’ll need to figure things out fast if she wants to be a player in the coming conflict and not a pawn. Each side has a claim on her loyalty, but each one could decide she’s the real threat.

Hopelessly attracted to a god of thunder; deeply connected to a boy with no memory of his past; irresistibly drawn to a creature with a taste for flesh—Rhi’s choices could decide the fate of worlds, but their choices could decide hers.

Maybe not being seen wasn’t so bad after all.

The Machine by Mark R. HealyThe Machine by Mark R. Healy

In the near future, a man climbs the corporate ladder inside a powerful company but finds that with each promotion he must sacrifice a part of himself. (6500 words, approx. 23 pages)

 

 

 

 

Diabolus by Travis HillDiabolus by Travis Hill

Salvatore Antonelli, a disgraced ex-bishop, and Benito Castillo, a young tech-priest fresh out of Seminary, are tasked by the Vatican to confront DAMON-1, a nuclear capable AI that claims to be Satan incarnate, returned to the physical world to bring about Armageddon.

The two clergy must battle to restore DAMON and purge Satan from the enslaved AI’s core. The bishop is forced to play a deadly game with billions of lives in the balance, while the young priest must confront Satan’s digital persona within the network.

The eternal conflict between good and evil, fought in the space between time, brings humanity and their AI creations to the dawn of a new age, and to the brink of annihilation.

“The Exorcist” meets “Skynet” meets “The Matrix” in this thought-provoking new science fiction thriller.

The Inventor's Son by S.B. JamesThe Inventor’s Son by S.B. James

Set in a Victorian London that could have been, The Inventor’s Son is the story of twelve year old Ethan Stanwood, whose father is a reclusive and brilliant inventor and scientist. Sickly and isolated, Ethan’s entire world revolves around his father and his work. He believes that this is all his life has to offer him, in spite of the latent magical talents he’d inherited from his mother that are beginning to surface.
When his father abruptly flees London one Monday morning, Ethan’s quiet life is swiftly turned into a fight for his survival. His father tasks him with bringing their most important prototype back to him, and has only left vague clues for Ethan to follow in order to find him. While Ethan has to try and find his father, he must also face his father’s foes who will stop at nothing to get Ethan and the prototype.
Ethan thinks he knows everything there is to know about his father. He is about to find out how very wrong he is.

Othella by Therin KniteOthella by Therin Knite

Georgette
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Georgette McClain can’t resist a juicy tip. So when a rumored crazy ex-CEO gifts her evidence of a vast conspiracy involving the world’s premier scientific community, Arcadian Heights, she sets her sights on the story of a lifetime. And all she has to do to grab it by the reins is sneak into the most secure facility in the world—and expose it for the slaughter house it is.

Marco
Tech company CEO Marco Salt has it all. Fame. Fortune. Family. But not long after Marco’s beloved genius daughter is invited to join Arcadian Heights, a rogue agent reveals to him the horrifying truth about the revered scientific community. Forced to flee for his life, Marco finds himself on the run with a deadly secret in his grasp and a single goal in mind: destroy Arcadian Heights.

Quentin
Quentin Belmont has been the Arcadian Heights spokesman for the better part of two decades, and his singular motivation is to keep the community safe at all costs. So when an internal incursion leaks vital information to an outside party, Quentin preps a “cleanup” without a second thought. But what at first appears to be a simple task turns out to be anything but, and Quentin comes face to face with the unthinkable—a threat that could annihilate the community.

The Ship to Look for God by D. KraussThe Ship to Look for God by D. Krauss

Otto Boteman suffers a massive heart attack and wakes up in a strange, jeweled city filled with beautiful people, a mesmerizing sky defying all physics, and what looks suspiciously like his first car. Seeking answers, Otto has a disturbing encounter with a murdered childhood friend and is assured by some kind of angel bureaucrat that this is Heaven, but God is not here so don’t bother looking. No God? Can’t be Heaven, then, despite the best danishes he’s ever eaten and residence in a pretty nice condo (replete with tailored suits and HBO). Maybe he’s not even dead, just comatose. But then he meets Claudia, a 5th Century beauty running an Irish pub, who tells him about a group of malcontents building a rocket ship in the far desert. Their mission? Find God.
So begins Otto’s journey across a fabulous world peopled with the likes of Doc Holliday, Prester John, and a Mongol horde led by an accountant from West Kankakee, Illinois. Drawing the wrath of a frenzied, suit-wearing army of angels (or demons, can’t tell), Otto discovers that launching the ship just might end the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Dead South Rising by Sean Robert LangDead South Rising by Sean Robert Lang

Welcome to the South, where the dead are dangerous, and the living are deadly.

David didn’t know he killed another man’s wife. He was only trying to save his own family. His friends. Himself.

And now he’s being hunted. By the dead. And by the living. He thinks he can handle the dead. But can he handle the living?

Book 1 of the Dead South Saga, a zombie drama/thriller. Contains strong language and violence.

One Man, No Plan by MT McGuireOne Man, No Plan by M.T. McGuire

Confused ex-outlaw, pardoned for all misdemeanours, seeks answers…

The Pan of Hamgee has a chance to go straight, but it’s been so long that he’s almost forgotten how. Bewilderingly, despite a death warrant over his head he is released, given a state-sponsored business, and a year’s amnesty from all offences while he adjusts.

He doesn’t have a year, though. In only five days Lord Vernon will gain total power and destroy K’Barth. Much to his frustration, the only person who can avert it is The Pan: a man without a plan.

This book is the third in a series, following Few Are Chosen and The Wrong Stuff

A Play for the Castle by Zelah MeyerA Play for the Castle by Zelah Meyer

Arthur and his friends are noblemen disguised as traveling players. Raising an army in secret, while dodging mercenaries and cabbages alike, isn’t easy. Neither is keeping secrets from the curious young woman he happens to be falling in love with. She thinks he’s just an actor with a shady past, and if he’s to have any hope of a future, he can’t put her right. Between sword fights and scene changes, life is about to get interesting.

 

 

Flying Saucers by Nigel G. MitchellFlying Saucers by Nigel G. Mitchell

As a recent graduate of the University of Destruction and Mayhem, Mortog Flethrax is eager to make his mark in the Xenon Empire that rules the Galaxy. Mortog’s first assignment is an insignificant little planet so pathetic that even its inhabitants call it dirt: Earth. With his devoted robot soldiers and textbook from class, Mortog plans to rule the world in less than twenty-four hours. He’s starting with the town of Dead Meat.

Jeffrey Foster has spent his entire life in the tiny town of Dead Meat, Illinois. He’s always thought small, been afraid to take chances. His life’s ambition is to get promoted to assistant manager at the convenience store where he works. All that is about to change when Mortog Flethrax comes to Earth.

When it turns out that Jeffrey’s best friend Dirk is a highly trained intergalactic freedom fighter, Jeffrey will be forced to rise up and save the world.

Stars and Other Monsters by PhronkStars and Other Monsters by Phronk

Stan Lightfoot is the perfect paparazzo. His dog, Bloody, can track down anybody, anywhere, which comes in handy whenever a celebrity involved in a juicy scandal tries to avoid public attention. He’s about to get the perfect picture—a real privacy-invading winner—when he runs into a vampire who ruins his life.

From the dark and vulgar mind of Phronk — author of Baboon Fart Story — splashes a neo-vampire trip through nightmare America, full of movie stars and other soulless creatures, mind-numbing romantic comedies, and a Wal-Mart in every town.

When the vampire reveals a celebrity crush of her own, Stan finds a way to keep her from eating him. Helping a murderous monster screw a movie star wasn’t exactly what Stan had in mind when he got into photography, but it’ll buy him a few days. Can he find a way to escape a creature with god-like power before she reaches her destination?

Probably not.

Darknight by Christine PopeDarknight by Christine Pope

Kidnapped by a rival witch clan, Angela McAllister envisions a dark future for herself until she discovers her captor’s brother is the unknown man who has haunted her dreams since she was a child. Forced to re-evaluate everything she’s ever known about the Wilcox witches, Angela begins to explore the powerful connection that binds her to Connor Wilcox, despite the generations of hostility between their families and the disapproval of those closest to her. And when a dark, malignant force arises, Angela knows she must draw on her growing powers as prima to protect enemies and allies alike…even if her choice threatens to tear her new and fragile love apart.

Darknight is the second book in the Witches of Cleopatra Hill, a paranormal romance trilogy set in the haunted town of Jerome, Arizona.

Scion of the Woods by B.E. PriestScion of the Woods by B.E. Priest

SIX MONTHS LATER
A monster is loose in the Trees’ Wood,
and the rebellion is suddenly revealed.
As Galen’s dark past comes to light,
war breaks out in the Queendom,
and Asher must choose a path,
risking all that he holds dear.

Sequel to Southwind Knights and The Queen of Grass and Trees.

 

Gear Heart by Hollis ShilohGear Heart by Hollis Shiloh

Living with a gear heart made from magic and machinery, Auden knows his lifespan will be shortened. Now a second-class citizen, he’s part of the household of Dr. Gregory—the man who stitched him back to life years ago during the war. And now Dr. Gregory is being threatened.

A friendly (sometimes too friendly) police officer named Owen is assigned to help protect the aging doctor. Auden could resent the policeman who’s come to help with security. Instead, he finds himself drawn to the attractive, flirtatious Owen, who somehow doesn’t let Auden’s cold nature scare him away. And that holds a different kind of danger for Auden’s heart.

Spectra's Gambit by Vincent TrigilliSpectra’s Gambit by Vincent Trigilli

An old ally of Grandmaster Vydor comes to him for help because an enemy, perhaps as old as the Empire itself, has turned its sights on his Cathratinairian race and means to wipe them out. Spectra and Dusty are sent to find and stop this new threat, while Spectra begins her plan to change the balance of power for the entire known multiverse. Dusty must decide to follow Spectra as she uses this mission of mercy for her own gain, or stand with the Wizards Kingdom, which could put him in direct opposition to his wife.

The Lost Tales of Power is an open-ended series of Science-Fantasy books set in a vast multiverse. Spectra’s Gambit is the sixth book set in the Lost Tales universe

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