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 January books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.
Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, YA fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, space opera, military science fiction, science fantasy, Cyberpunk, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, post-apocalyptic romance, horror, weird fiction, slipstream, vampires, werewolves, dragons, magic schools, dream mages, spellships, time travel, cyborgs, alien attacks, missing scientists, mythic carnivals 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:
Ancient Mystery – Timeless Love
An Eternity as an immortal in slavery was not what she had in mind!
Desperate and alone, sixteen-year-old Megan uses a powerful and ancient talisman to escape modern-day life and make a new start in ancient Egypt. But powerful enemies lie in wait, seeking her destruction and the magical scarab necklace she wields.
Will an alliance with another immortal, the handsome and secretive Franklin, help keep her from harm long enough to learn the secrets of the scarab? – Or will he cause her to lose everything – including her heart.
This, the first in the Scarab trilogy, will hook you in and leave you gasping – a time-travel romance with mystery, adventure, murder and love.
Keva Duste is an engineered human on a mission: find the weapon the corporate elite has amassed and secure it.
Humanity has conquered the black, but not their own inherent greed. The four systems surrounding Kalamatra Station provide members of the Elite class with everything they could want: mined minerals, abundant food, and an entire system to call their own, a place of paradise and riches. But for some, that isn’t enough.
Terrans and common spacers suffer under untenable work conditions and crumbling, radioactive stations while the Elite thrive. Now the commoners are threatening to revolt.
With the four systems on the verge of civil war, the Codex Syndicate’s covert intelligence network learns of an Elite weapon designed to alter the common people to their genetic core. The Elite have planned to test deployment on the mutinous Red Sky colony and force their compliance.
Codex Syndicate agent Keva Duste is an ex-military, engineered human with a score to settle. Together with a renegade space captain, an Elite refugee, and two sentient AIs, she must race to locate the weapon and stop the genocide of the human race before it can begin. Can Keva save Red Sky from destruction before the Elite turn this weapon on the rest of the settlements? And if she does, will she ignite a revolution?
A mission to a foreign land has left Captain Trip Yert with a responsibility he never anticipated: watching over two dozen magical stasis chambers containing half-dragon young, including eight that are half-human. As bewildering as he finds it, all of them are related to him.
He’s vowed to ensure they make it safely back to his homeland where the sorceress Sardelle can, he hopes, advise him on how to care for them. But while he, Rysha, and Major Kaika are investigating a friend’s death and trying to arrange passage home, someone steals one of the baby girls.
If Trip can’t deal with hostile mages, corrupt business moguls, and the surprising secrets of his mother’s past, he may lose the little sister he never had a chance to know.
Marnie Speck has completed her first year at the Fanglewick School of Magic, but is waiting for the arrival of her witchy powers. When they fail to show, she is left wondering about the actual date of her birth and her true identity. After a tumultuous return to the Old World, Marnie and her best friend, Seb are welcomed to Mangleworm Avenue by Professor Lexi Spindlewood. Soon they discover life on Thundery Way, in the heart of Wandermere, is fraught with elfin and dragon dangers. Retreating to Fanglewick, they realise it too is under attack and unsafe.
Mage Mystilic ventures to Wandermere and leads Marnie and Seb on a wild dragon ride across a fantastic landscape to Morgansol in an attempt to trace Marnie’s parents’ final journey. To complicate life in the Old World, a new boy, the last apprentice at Blends and Fizzles, the potions and alchemy emporium, shows an unhealthy curiosity about Marnie and her newfound divination skills.
In a world forever changed by The Unveiling, where so-called “supernaturals” revealed their existence to humanity…
Katherine “Kat” King is on the run.
Two years ago, she woke up in a cell, held captive by a mysterious organization known as Advent 9. Subjected to harsh experiments involving magic, mayhem, and genetic engineering, Kat struggled to hold on to her sanity.
But now, she’s escaped Advent 9’s grasp—and she intends to keep it that way. Using the only three things that Advent 9 couldn’t take from her: an alias, amnesia, and an attitude that could make a grown man cry.
Liam Crown had it all once up a time.
A washed-up star detective with a penchant for “magic tricks,” Liam’s life fell to pieces when an accident cost him his family—and his sobriety. Now he scrapes by with a PI license and his late father’s used bookshop and spends most of his free time with a bottle in his hand.
But when a chance encounter with a strange woman makes him the target of a violent underground organization, Liam finds himself being dragged out of his stagnant life and back into the danger zone he thought he’d left forever.
And as the stakes begin to mount, Liam realizes that his old self is slowly coming back to life in the face of battle.
Now all he has to do is survive the war.
Lacey thought she’d escaped her dark magical past. She was wrong.
Lacey McCray has a secret. She isn’t just a grad student living in Los Angeles. She’s also a Class 2 Animagus or a witch who can shift into any animal she pleases. When her grad school scholarship mysteriously gets canceled, she receives a strange offer to work for a firm that specializes in collecting missing supernatural treasures. Desperate to make enough money to pay her tuition, Lacey agrees to give it a try.
After breaking into a troll’s lair to retrieve an enchanted necklace, Lacey starts to think that she’s a natural. And the money’s not half bad either
It doesn’t take long before she’s ruffled the feathers of one of the firm’s top agents named Stryker Smith. Oh, and then there’s the young human cop who keeps turning up wherever Lacey happens to be.
Just when Lacey thinks she’s made enough money to pay her rent and go back to being a full-time grad student, a rogue vampire threatens the life of someone she loves. Lacey McCray will find out just how good she actually is at this new supernatural job.
The Last Dragonflight Holds the Key to Survival
Voria, Aran, and Nara survived their trip into the Umbral Depths. They retrieved the Talon, and are now searching for the First Spellship, the key to victory in their war against the Krox. Their search leads them to Virkonna, the home of the Last Dragonflight, a world where Dragons still rule. The world where Aran was born.
Aran’s past finally catches up with him, and he is forced to answer for killing Khalahk. The Wyrms demand he undergo a March of Honor, a brutal death march that few survive. Nara must not only accept Aran’s fate, but use it as a distraction to locate the First Spellship. Voria must forge an alliance with the ancient and very arrogant Wyrms of the Last Dragonflight, before the Krox do it first.
If even one of them fail, Krox will rise and the sector is doomed. Even success will carry a heavy price…
A new world colony…
A moonless night…
An alien attack…
Ever wondered what it would be like to live on a starship? It was the only life Ethan knew.
When the colony starship Nova Fortuna reaches the end of its 184-year journey, most of its passengers have grown up aboard ship. They have no idea what it’s like to feel the wind on their faces or get wet in the rain.
On the first night of the new colony, Ethan is one of the lucky few who are sleeping planetside. Most of the others are Gens like Ethan, born and bred on the starship. A few are Woken, who were revived from cryonic suspension two years prior to Arrival.
The colonists settle down to sleep, but Ethan is restless. A strange noise disturbs him, and so begins the fight for his life, the lives of the settlers, and the colony itself.
Night of Flames is the prequel to the space colonization epic, Space Colony One.
Antoine DeWitt is a man down on his luck. Broke and recently fired, he knows the winning Money Carlo ticket that has landed in his mailbox from a car dealership is nothing more than a scam. The promise of five thousand dollars, though, is too tantalizing to ignore.
Jon Dangle is a keeper of secrets, many of which are buried deep beneath his dealership. He works hard to keep them hidden, but occasionally sacrifices are required, sacrifices who are penniless, desperate, and who will not be missed. Sacrifices exactly like DeWitt.
When Antoine steps foot on Dangle’s car lot, it is with the hope of easy money. Instead, he finds himself trapped in a deep, dark hole, buried alive. If he is going to survive the nightmare ahead of him, if he has any chance of seeing his wife and child again, Antoine will have to do more than merely hope. He will have to fight his way back to the surface, and pray that Jon Dangle’s secrets do not kill him first.
Blank tapes brings you nine stories from the fringes of reality. Challenging, thought provoking and just plain absurd, these stories are not your regular feel-good tales. It’s their job to worm their way into your thoughts and never leave. Bold new voices bring you disturbing insights from the further reaches of the possible. Just because you’re from around here doesn’t mean that you’re not alien.
Red Arrows by Anna Cotton: When Raymond goes for a haircut he isn’t the only one who’s going to come out with a new look.
Shark Girls by Dermot Jelfs: Thoughts on the true nature of dolphins and other concerns.
Down in the Dirt by L. Tucker: Meet Colin, your kid’s new best friend.
BLOCK parts 1-3 by Paul Huxley: The boy, the businessman, the doctor and the mother. Four lives irrevocably changed by the impossible.
I Don’t Believe in Ghosts by Damn Sung: There’s something strange in this house, but who are you going to call?
Filiarch by Gareth Pale: She always tips well, but this is the last time this pizza-boy is making the delivery.
Binky by Paul Huxley: He’s such a sweet little thing, unless his master is threatened.
Deadly creatures, hostile climate, and that is just the scenery.
For many years, mysterious things have happened on the ice world of Tamer, but when a scientist goes missing from Barresh thought to be on Tamer, Cory is forced to take the issue by the horns.
Problem is, he is dealing with unexpected side effects of his fertility treatment, and, like his Coldi companions, he’s lost much of his night vision, and has trouble tolerating low temperatures.
Trouble is, a recent addition to his team has sent shockwaves through his group of loyal companions and things are still sorting themselves out.
Not his healthy self, under-resourced, frozen and half-blind, that’s not the best preparation to visit a world where humans are not at the top of the food chain, let alone dealing with enemies who will go to any lengths to hide their activities.
My last adventure made me famous. Now the fame might kill me.
Overnight, I became the city’s premier dream mage when I saved it from an evil demon.
My dream reading business has been booming ever since, but other dream mages in the city aren’t too happy about my sudden stardom.
Now I’m a target.
I’ve got to watch my back. And take it from me—the last person you want pissed at you is a dream mage.
Evil Waking is the gripping Book 3 in bestselling author Michael La Ronn’s Magic Trackers series.
Mystic Caravan Circus is heading to the West Coast, and while everyone is happy for the change of scenery there’s a pall settling over the group.
Poet and Kade are in a good place and planning for a change, but it’s something Poet can’t focus on because she feels as if someone is watching … and whoever it is has evil in his or her heart.
The festival location is different, and instead of space, the circus denizens have festival workers and artisans on every side. They’re open and exposed, and hiding their secret has never been more important.
When one of their own goes missing, Poet is determined to figure out exactly what’s going on. The answers won’t be easy, though, and there are all different types of evil.
A fight is coming, and the enemy is different from anything they’ve ever faced. They’re outnumbered and might find themselves outmaneuvered.
Who will survive? More importantly, who will be lost to something even worse than death? Sometimes death really is better.
Writing science fiction and songs have been two of my lifelong passions. This anthology combines them, with a selection of my science fiction and fantasy stories that has music as a theme, and my lyrics that deal with far-off suns, robots, and time travel.
Are you one of them?
With a childhood full of secrets, Matt only wants to blend in. But when his university friends fall prey to a terrifying illness, he begins to realise how truly different, and dangerous, he really is. The disease spreads across the country and society disintegrates into fear and violence. The authorities are talking about terrorism, but Matt knows the truth, and it’s much, much worse. He goes on the run, joining others like him in their struggle to survive. But will it be at humanity’s expense?
With mind-bending scenes of transformation and a story charged with moral ambiguity, The Poison People is a Jekyll and Hyde for our times.
Death isn’t always the end… sometimes it’s only the beginning.
Claire’s trapped in a dead-end marriage, strapped for cash and getting desperate. Her chance at freedom comes in the form of a music con in Florida. Her mission? Win over a few big clients and collect a fat bonus check. It should have been easy, but Claire didn’t count on a bewitched violin, its sultry Italian owner, Bette, or her dark and dangerous companions.
Unfortunately, life isn’t all song lyrics and seduction. Tied to darkness by blood and power, Claire must harness her abilities if she has any hope of surviving this business trip from hell.
Shane is a burned-out cop trying to mind his own business. Peter’s the new wolf at the precinct. Nerdy, awkward, and oddly attractive — and he seems strangely drawn to Shane.
Peter already has a partner on the job, the jealous and protective Sue. So, what’s the deal? Maybe he wants something else from Shane. Maybe his interest is purely personal…and not in the least professional. Shane’s starting to feel pretty unprofessional himself.
But having feelings for Peter is riskier than Shane could ever have guessed.
In his latest short story collection of dark, unsettling tales, Darren Speegle takes us on a journey through the textured layers of time and space. From Flower Age Ibiza, Spain to present-day war-torn Iraq, from the mysteries of America’s Deep South to those of a haunting future landscape where humans and machines are virtually indistinguishable, these stories explore what it is to be us among the varying distances.
An infamous German writer searches for the meaning of consciousness.
A future artist is forced by a cult leader to try to capture his soul in a portrait.
An American contractor working a camp gate in Iraq is confronted by incoming vehicles the likes of which he has never seen before.
A godlike being welcomes in Halloween with a special device.
A hitman tries to determine which woman among a party of three is the android, his target.
This surreal collection includes:
Introduction by Jeffrey Thomas
In the Distance, a Familiar Sound
The Flesh Winks While the Ghost Weeps
The Staging Yard
For Love of War
A Carousel of Faces
Death Paper Burn
Twinkle, Twinkle, Amsterdam
That’s the Game
Song in a Sundress
A Puddle in the Wilderness
A deadly virus. A brilliant, young researcher. And an infected survivor who threatens to steal her heart.
In a society ruled by sanctions and curfews, Dr. Meghan Forester emerges as the youngest and most promising scientist to join the fight against Makanza – the deadly virus that’s ravaged the world.
Inside Compound 26, a giant government-controlled research facility, Meghan’s new job involves studying the Kazzies, the rare survivors who carry the virus and now exhibit supernatural powers. But as her work enfolds, Meghan’s horrified at the brutal and unethical practices the Kazzies are subjected to. And most surprisingly, she falls in love with one.
Faced with growing conflict over helping the Kazzies versus following the Compound’s strict policies, Meghan must choose: obey the government’s unethical practices or risk everything to save the only man she’s ever loved.
Sergeant Jerry Harper recently caused an interstellar incident. As a result, tensions are high, and the Reliants of the Mentarchy have offered to host a conference to settle the matter peacefully. Jerry is ordered by his government to attend the talks and testify. He travels with the rest of the Agrarian diplomatic delegation to the planet Cortex, home of the Mentarch.
Cortex is supposed to be neutral ground, but that changes when an assassin targets the Agrarians. Jerry chases the shooter, but the pursuer quickly becomes the pursued, and he’s forced to go on the run. While Jerry’s wandering in the wilderness, the Mentarch activates its anti-gravity jammer, blockading space travel. The Agrarian delegates are now stuck on the planet, and Jerry is the only one in a position to do anything about it. He’s tasked with disabling the jammer.
Jerry has no idea how he’s going to do it, but he sets out anyway. Along the way, he starts to get a strange feeling about Cortex, some weird interaction between the planet and his psychic gift. He’s not sure what’s going on, but he suspects the Mentarch is up to something. Jerry must find a way to disable the jammer while also dealing with the Mentarch’s mind games. And if he wants to get his people off Cortex alive, he must do it before the place turns into a war zone.
New Bali is a swamp world located 20 light-years from Earth. Colonized by humans almost two hundred years before, the planet is also home to an intelligent, methane-breathing race of amphibians. The natives have a unique culture that precludes war and vengeance, but recent events have begun to unravel a once fragile peace.
Sophie Singh, heir to a vast conglomerate, must decide whether to retain her family’s control of Wetworld while Brother Moises Borbon, a conflicted Jesuit researcher, races against time to unlock the true meaning behind an alien art form that might be the key to truly understanding the natives.
These and many more unforgettable characters will experience critical choices ahead in the first part of this science fiction saga on colonialism, war, and sociopolitical upheaval.
Roland Tankowicz hates Venus.
The last time he went there, he died. So, no one could really blame him if he never went back.
Nevertheless, when a squad of Venusian assassins ruins date night, everybody’s least-favorite Army-surplus cyborg decides to take a trip to Earth’s sister planet and have a sit-down with an infamous group of terrorists.
Perhaps it’s because he really likes date night. Maybe he just wants to keep the promise he once made to a troubled young man. It is even conceivable that he might still have a heap of unresolved issues with the separatists who blew his body apart years ago. For whatever reason, the big man and his motley crew of misfits strap on their guns and hurl themselves into the murky world of interplanetary terrorism.
To his dismay, Roland discovers that Venus has changed since his last visit. The black-and-white politics of the fanatics and governments he remembers have now merged into complicated shades of gray. Cyborg killers walk the halls without fear, and the soldiers stationed there seem no better than the thugs they fight. The sweltering underworld of Venus holds terrors and trials that will test the old soldier in ways he is not prepared for, while a crafty assassin stalks them all from shadows both real and imagined.
The team must to walk a narrow path between terrorists, soldiers, and their own dark pasts if they expect to get out of this one alive. Is The Fixer strong enough to pull an entire population from the ashes of civil war?
If he isn’t, they may all drown in a flood of:
The emperor is dead, and the White City of Amalt has fallen. Those who defy Savaroth’s tyranny are enslaved, thrown into chains and forced to carry out his sinister designs. As Savaroth’s corruption claims the Alkomian empire, an ancient and terrible evil rises from the bowels of the earth. Rumors of a creeping, entangling horror sweep through the war-torn countryside. No soul is safe as man, woman, and child cower in the ruins of the once mighty empire.
From deep within a living forest, Aventine leads a fragile rebellion against Savaroth’s forces. Yet even as they seek to strike out against the tyrant, they are hunted by an eldritch monster that hounds their every step.
On the coast of the empire, Remus haunts the skies, harrying Savaroth’s forces with the might of the Black Citadel. Time is running out, and he must find a way to fight back or flee Alkomia forever.
Remus and Aventine are mankind’s last hope for survival. Together they will fall, or rise up and overcome the greatest threat the empire has ever known.