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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