It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.
So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some March books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.
Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, Asian fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, science fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, steampunk, weird western, LitRPG, magical realism, horror, witches, dragons, superheroes, princesses, androids, airship pirates, space pirates, starships, crime-busting witches, grim reapers, necromancers, shadow hunters, space admirals, outcast marines, post-apocalyptic sheriffs, wild west mages, horde kings and their brides, 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:
Wireless and More Steam-Powered Adventures by Alex Acks:
Captain Marta Ramos, the most dangerous pirate in the Duchy of Denver, is back and she and Simms are up to their goggles in trouble. Has General del Toro found a way to use the Infected as an army and can Captain Ramos work with her arch enemy, Colonel Geoffrey Douglas, to stop him? Can Simms join forces with the devious Deliah Nimowitz on a jailbreak, some sewer misadventures AND a high society soiree involving tea, a heist and sausages? And what about the Rail King and his nefarious plans? Can Captain Ramos and her crew stop him before he completes his latest dastardly deed, one that may result in Deliah’s demise? Check out the next installment of the exciting adventures of Captain Ramos and her valiant crew to find out more!
Wireless picks up where Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures with 3 linked novellas, all set in or near the Duchy of Denver, in an American West that never was.
“Blood in Elk Creek” – When Captain Marta Ramos’s aeroplane is shot down over hostile territory, she has to work with her nemesis, Colonel Geoffrey Douglas, head of the Duke of Denver’s security division, to try and stop General del Toro’s plot to spread the dreaded Infection throughout the Plains tribes, thereby creating a monstrous private army. And the clock is ticking when Marta contracts the Infection too.
“Do Shut Up, Mister Simms” – While Marta is off having adventures, Simms involuntarily signs up for one of his own. He and the crew have to join forces with the lovely Deliah to break a crewmember out of the Duke’s prison. Then it’s off to visit two of Simm’s least favorite things: the city sewers and a high society tea party, whilst serving as Deliah’s escort. Make that three of his least favorite things.
“Wireless” – Marta returns from the Plains a changed woman and Simm’s plan to cure her gets Deliah kidnapped. Now the crew is racing against time to rescue her and stop the Rail King from executing his latest dastardly plan, with some help from some new and unexpected allies.
A Cold Spell by Stacey Alabaster:
It’s a cold day in… Well, you know the saying
Ruby Swift is learning to use her paranormal powers and how to solve mysteries as a private investigator. Sometimes together. When a freezing spell goes wrong, she’s suddenly got more to worry about than just a murder investigation.
A Cold Spell is part of the Private Eye Witch Cozy Mystery series. If you like fun paranormal mysteries, you will love Ruby Swift and her magical adventures.
Get A Cold Spell and start solving your next supernatural mystery today!
The Admiral by Odette C. Bell:
The battle for the galaxy starts now.
Lara Forest is a simple cadet in the Galactic Coalition Academy – or so she thinks. When she decides to quit, circumstances force her to reconsider. A hand from her future reaches through the past, and it a brings a war.
Soon Lara is thrust head-first into a battle for the Milky Way, not just in this time, but forever. She’s not alone. The meddlesome golden-boy Cadet Nok is with her. She might not appreciate his help now – one day, she will. But that depends on one thing – time. From now on, everything and everyone will depend on it.
The Bleak Heath by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:
Thurvok the sellsword and his companions Meldom, thief and occasional assassin, and the sorceress Sharenna are fleeing across the Bleak Heath after saving Meldom’s childhood sweetheart Lysha from the gallows. Weary and exhausted, they are relieved to come upon a hut on the heath. But what they find inside that hut may well be more dangerous than the heath itself.
This is a novelette of 10500 words or approx. 35 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.
The Cave of the Dragon by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:
Thurvok, the sellsword, is enjoying a meal with his friends, Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Lysha, Meldom’s sweetheart whom the adventurers saved from the gallows, when a peasant woman asks them for help. Her young daughter Tali has been chosen to be sacrificed to the dragon that terrorises the area.
Thurvok and his friends want to help her and save Tali. But slaying a dragon is difficult, not to mention dangerous.
This is a short story of 4500 words or 18 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.
The North Star by Killian Carter:
An ancient alien race, a sentient monkey, and epic battles.
Jason Grimshaw has one job…
Get the cadets to Colony 115.
Just another day. Just another milk run. Or so he thought.
When scanners pick up an unidentified alien vessel, it’s already too late.
With his ship blown out from under him, and his crew scattered across a war-torn planet, his day just keeps getting better.
The good news is, one of the pilots survived. The bad news is, it’s the biggest pain in his ass, and she’s stranded miles away.
When Clio Evans said she wanted to fly, crash-landing a starship wasn’t what she had in mind.
She may not be the most experienced Fleet pilot, but she sure as hell has a few tricks up her sleeve, and with an army standing between her and the rest of her crew, she’ll have to pull out all the stops, even if it means exposing a secret that’ll see her hanged for treason.
You’ll love this military science fiction adventure with a twist, because who doesn’t love overbearing Commanders, cocky redheads, and aliens with guns?
Battle Royale Online by Victor Deckard:
It is 2053 and Earth is overpopulated. People desperately struggle for existence. Human life is extremely cheap nowadays.
As a way to deal with the dire effects and problems of the overpopulation, Battle Royale Online has been invented. It is a virtual reality video game where up to one thousand players kill one another off until there is only one survivor in the game. The gaming pods players use to connect to the game are unofficially called players’ coffins. There is a good reason for that: if one gets killed in the game, his or her pod gets deactivated, which results in the player’s death in real life. The sole winner of the game gets a huge amount of prize money.
Jason, a twenty-two-year-old guy, would never have decided to play Battle Royale Online had his mom not gotten in a car crash, which caused a brain tumor. She is in a comatose state and needs immediate surgical intervention. Jason doesn’t have enough money to pay for the surgery. Therefore, he decides to play Battle Royale Online.
Jennifer, his girlfriend, tries to reason with him. She tries to persuade him not to play the game because the odds of being the last player standing in this game are extremely slim. She also warns him that there may be cheaters and hackers in the game. Yet her pleas fall on deaf ears.
Later on, Jason finds out that Jennifer is going to play the game as well. Jason freaks out over her decision because there is no way they both can win the game. Even if they against all the odds defeat the other players, cheaters, and hackers, and make it to the final stage of the game, it won’t let them both leave the game alive. Jason has no idea what Jennifer was thinking when she decided to play the game as well. How the heck are they both going to win the game if there can be only one survivor?
Captive of the Horde King by Zoey Draven:
She made a deal with the Dakkari devil. Now, he owns her.
On the unforgiving planet of Dakkar, I did what all the humans in our village did: kept my head down, worked to provide for my family, and I certainly didn’t break any Dakkari laws to risk inciting the alien race’s merciless wrath.
Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for my brother and one careless mistake brings a horde of the nomadic, barbarian Dakkari straight to our doorstep, led by their powerful horde king—a cold, ruthless, battle-scarred warrior demanding retribution.
In order to save my brother’s life, I do the unthinkable.
I sell myself to the horde king as his war prize. I agree to warm his furs, to travel with his horde across the wild lands of Dakkar, and to never see my family again.
But as I struggle with my new reality, I discover that the surly, mysterious, dominant horde king never intended for me to be his concubine…
He wants me as his queen.
Reaper’s Crossroad by Timothy Ellis:
“The only one enjoying himself in there is the grim reaper.”
The Crossroad system is a battleground.
The Keerah only want to conquer. The Ralnor want control. The Trixone want new eating grounds.
All of them want what they think Jon Hunter has.
Jon is fighting a war on seven fronts, while trying to stay out of politics and diplomacy at home.
As the death toll mounts, Jon is confronted with options, all of which carry an unacceptable body count.
And in the midst of it all, old choices suddenly have consequences.
In the middle of everything, lies the Reaper’s Crossroad.
Princess of Wind and Sea by Cassandra Finnerty:
In 1773, the prince and princess travel across the globe on a series of secret missions.
Along the way, they run into unexpected dangers.
Aisling’s magical abilities are increasing, but dark forces who seek to destroy her powers are hunting them.
The prince must protect her at all costs, as they fight for survival and abiding love.
If you like fantasy, action-adventure and romance, you’ll love this novel by Cassandra Finnerty.
No Planet for Good Men by M.R. Forbes:
Earth. After the invasion.
The planet is in ruins. Humankind struggles to survive.
Hayden is a Sheriff in a world without law. A good man in a world gone bad. He knows the fallout of an alien attack when he sees it. He’s never seen anything like this before.
Isaac is a Marine in a world without order. A good man with troubles of his own. His mission was to protect the innocent, including his son. Instead, he’s the only survivor.
Two good men. Two frightening discoveries. Two paths to one inescapable truth:
The invasion may be over, but the real fight is just beginning.
Go big or go home. For privateer Captain Magdalene Landon, it’s all about going big. For Kay Ellis, it’s about getting home. Together, they’re about to architect the most daring heist in the galaxy.
Kay knows too much. She knows it’s a matter of time before a Conglomerate hitman finds her. She’s desperate for safe passage back to Union space.
Then Magdalene shows up, promising a way home in exchange for that information. It’s a risky bet, but Kay is out of options. So she strikes a deal: the heist of the century for her freedom.
Kay is playing a dangerous game, and she knows it. She’s made herself Enemy Number One of the Conglomerate. She’s relying on privateers for her safety. It’s a fool’s game. But the worst part is, her fool’s heart is starting to warm to the enigmatic captain. And that’s a risk for which she hadn’t planned.
Every victory comes with a price
Krox’s assault on Shaya has been foiled, but the cost was bitter. Ternus lies in ruins, its gravity doubled by a god. Shaya is a paradise, but one populated by a mere handful of survivors. Only one power strong enough to oppose Krox remains… The Last Dragonflight.
Aran and his Outriders travel to Virkon to wake Virkonna, praying that she will join the war on their side. But neither Krox nor Nebiat is the true threat. Nefarius’s rebirth has been carefully orchestrated, and is finally at hand.
When the dust settles gods will die. Heroes will be slain. The sector will never be the same.
He was told he would use his powers for truth and justice…
Instead, Bobby has been given an impossible task…Hunt down and execute some of the most powerful superhumans in existence.
When his entire team of heroes goes rogue and begins committing acts of terror, he is ordered to bring his friends to justice.
But every encounter with his former allies bring up questions that can’t be answered, doubts begin to surface, and he is forced to make the terrible choice between duty and friendship.
Demon’s Carnival by T. Thornton Gray:
The promise of fun and thrills arrives with the rides and amusements atop the trucks of the traveling carnival. But beneath the balloons and lights lurks a foreboding monster seeking only to fulfill his darkest desires. The powerful and twisted desires of perverted mind that seeks the young and the pretty to use like play things. To use and destroy. To feed a never-ending desire for an unhinged ecstasy.
Join Bilbo the Clown and the good nun Sister Sledge, as they are again thrust into the icy demonic grip of evil. An evil unlike any they have yet encountered. This time Bilbo has met his match in more ways than you can imagine when he reaches the Demon’s Carnival.
Jess Flowers is the sole surviving guardian, sworn by oath and fate to protect the residents of the sleepy, isolated town of Salt Creek. But she’s failing. Innocent blood has been shed. Despite Jess’ best efforts, the killing hasn’t stopped. Bodies are piling up, and the other two guardians are dead, murdered by a killer who’s always one step ahead, always just out of reach.
Jess is a theikos, a race of people born with superhuman gifts, a race of people who have hidden safely in Salt Creek and isolated communities just like it for centuries. But the safe days are over, and time is running out.
The fate of the town and the lives of Jess’ friends, her family, and her one true love are on the line as a frightening truth suddenly becomes clear: The killing won’t stop until all the theikos are dead, driven to extinction. Someone has discovered their secret and is hunting them. The killer knows who they are, what they can do, and exactly where to find them.
Book Haven And Other Curiosities by Mark Allan Gunnells:
An eclectic mix of tales to entertain and engage the imagination!
Come peruse the dusty shelves of BOOK HAVEN. Scan the titles, study the strange trinkets that are lined up on display. Maybe pull aside the cobwebs and run your fingers alone the spines of the books, caress the artifacts. You will find many forgotten treasures and un-mined gems among the debris.
From the author of Flowers in a Dumpster comes a new collection of short stories to terrify you, to move you, to make you think. In the spirit of High Cotton by Joe Lansdale, Trigger Warnings by Neil Gaiman, and Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, this short story collection offers an eclectic mix of Horror, Scifi, Fantasy, and drama.
- -The title novella features a futuristic landscape where the world’s literature has been lost, and a group of government agents are on the hunt for the mythological Book Haven, a vast secret library.
- -In “C U Soon,” a girl dies in a car accident while texting with her boyfriend, but after her funeral he continues receiving mysterious messages from her.
- -In “The Man Who Watched the Ocean,” a man mourning the loss of a past love decides to try and join her.
- -In “Tanner” a man purchases a used tanning bed in which someone once died and finds that houses aren’t the only places that can be haunted.
- -In “Human Bones in a China Cabinet,” a young man has an unusual collection hidden away in a china cabinet
- -In “The Sandbox,” a friendless boy playing in a sandbox encounters a strange yet familiar old man who shapes the course of his life
- -In “The Farm,” a horror fan visits the location of a cult classic
Some of what you find will be dark and suspenseful, some beautiful and haunting, but all of it is yours for the taking. We’re so glad you found your way here and welcome you inside BOOK HAVEN.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Their children hunted. Their home seized. Their land threatened.
Once, Silas and Lainie Vendine, former bounty hunters turned renegade mages, had a home and ranch of their own and a position of respect in the town of Prairie Wells.
Now, mage-hating foreigners have driven them from their home. But the Chardonikans want more than Silas and Lainie’s ranch. Though they deny that magic exists, the foreigners are after Lainie and the children, Wildings-born of mage blood.
When their retreat from Prairie Wells turns into a flight for their lives, Silas and Lainie seek refuge in the forbidden canyonlands. But it isn’t only their family who are threatened by the ruthless, powerful Chardonikans; all the mages who make the Wildings their home and even the very magic of the Wildings itself are endangered.
With the Chardonikans intent on tearing their family apart, Silas and Lainie must find allies and discover the true nature of their enemies if they are to have any hope of fighting back and protecting the people and magic of the Wildings.
Mages’ Exile is the second book of Defenders of the Wildings, a follow-up series to the western-inspired fantasy series Daughter of the Wildings. It is a self-contained series and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read Daughter of the Wildings.
Burning Horizon by T.M. James:
Nicole Greene is brought onto Earth’s first interstellar ship – the last place she ever wanted to be.
Completely out of her element, and with more questions than answers, Nicole finds herself surrounded by the best and brightest scientists that ever lived… a crew that soon begins to exhibit increasingly bizarre, frightening behavior. Not knowing who she can trust, Nicole soon discovers a dark secret aboard the ship… a secret that will ultimately leave the fate of mankind in her hands.
But, unfortunately for her – the only way to save mankind is to save herself first.
Shadow Hunter by B.R. Kingsolver:
When my magic manifested at puberty, my parents sold me to the Illuminati. The Order of the Illuminati trained me as an assassin, spy, and thief. But when they sent me to steal a magical artifact that reveals Truth in all things, I discovered that I was working for the Dark and not the Light. The Illuminati trained me well, and paid the ultimate price for their deception.
Thousands of miles away, I landed a job in a quirky little bar. But the scattered remnants of the Order still strive for world domination, and no one leaves the Illuminati alive.
Only the Quiet by Amanda M. Lee:
Izzy Sage is settling into her new life despite the pall hanging over her past.
While the memories of the catastrophe that took her parents when she was a child remain elusive, she finds she’s comfortable in her new environment … even though she happens to have taken up the same position her father held when he was killed.
She’s the new death gate operator, which means she’s in control when souls are ferried to the other side. She literally controls death … and it’s not a comfortable spot to be in.
Her only problem is a man … and it’s not something she thought she would be facing because romance was supposed to be off the table.
Braden Grimlock isn’t exactly known for being mature and grounded, but there’s something about Izzy that calls to him. He can’t stay away. The feeling only grows stronger when a group of deaf students tour the aquarium located on top of the death gate … and the teacher drops dead in the middle of a blackout.
Right away, Izzy senses something is wrong … other than the obvious, that is. She simply can’t figure out what sort of opponent she’s facing.
The past is about to meet the present as a long-hidden secret grabs Izzy by the throat and demands answers. There’s a malevolent spirit on the loose and he has designs on escape from Belle Isle. The havoc he could wreak if freed is immeasurable.
It’s up to Izzy and Braden … and the rest of the Grimlocks … to figure out what’s happening and stop a horrifically determined ghost from claiming an innocent life. It’s going to take all of them working together … and if a little romance gums up the works, they’re simply going to have to deal with that, too.
Izzy is a powerful Bruja. Even she might not be strong enough to face the horror of what’s to come, though.
Ramshackled by Erynn Lehtonen:
Some rules should be broken.
The dragons are gone, but their ki remains within the fabric of the world, and only those with the knowledge to access it might use its power. For centuries, the Genshu family has supported the Seiryuu Emperors, Empresses, and Shoguns during periods of war and prosperity. Now they would see their line of warriors and majyu put to an end.
But twin brothers Masanori and Hidekazu Genshu have other plans.
To the eye of the public, they dutifully follow their parents’ demands and don’t learn how to fight. But in the early hours of the morning, far from home, they practice in secret. Until the day Tsukiko City is attacked, a woman is kidnapped, and life returns to normal without a second thought.
The day Masanori and Hidekazu realize they can’t sit on the sidelines any longer.
Masa and Hide’s journey begins in Ramshackled, the first of four novellas prefacing the Wyvern Wars series: an epic fantasy adventure inspired by selections of Japanese mythology and folklore.
Captive Embers by Brian Mansur:
The humans wage war across space.
But who is the real enemy?
Mykonian fleet Operative Rafe Hastings has spent several tours around Belia trying to keep weapons traffickers from tearing the local space habitats apart. He’s eager to go home when an informant passes him dire news about an infamous cartel boss named Lilith. Not only has she acquired nuclear weapons, but she has somehow gained permission from the mysterious robotic overlords of inhabited space – the Wardens – to use them.
The battleship Tsunami is dispatched to investigate Rafe’s discovery and veteran operations Officer Sean Merrick soon finds himself caught in a conspiracy involving feuding Wardens. With allies dying all around him, his only hope for survival turns out to be a junior combat nurse named Sarah Riley who has scarcely fired a gun before.
As Rafe, Sean, and Sarah battle Lilith, they’ll be forced to rely on the unexpected to save the people they love. But with the Wardens constantly changing the rules, could it be that no matter who wins the war, everyone loses?
The SLS Excelsior has a million credit bounty on her, and pirate captain Christopher Raleigh leads his crew to claim the prize. But with the Digital Assassin and the Tetrarch’s daughter onboard, no plans can ever be safe.
When Space Marines recapture Jillian in the midst of battle, Raleigh and his crew have to find a way to get to Clarion and take her back. Or die trying . . .
Don’t miss the second installment of this action-packed space opera adventure! Contains the bonus chapters not available online.
Rise of a Necromancer by Rosie Scott:
Many people want Cerin Heliot dead.
While studying to be a mage at a prestigious university, Cerin is seized by an obsession with necromancy. When his secret knowledge of the forbidden magic is discovered, he becomes one of the nation’s most-wanted criminals overnight, sending his life into a tragic downhill spiral.
In this gritty story of survival, Cerin learns the hard way that to make it in a cruel world, he must become its match. Rather than run from the law forever, he builds an undead army to face it and make it fear his name. When all living loved ones are lost, Cerin must rise to be a master of the dead.
Rise of a Necromancer is a standalone character-driven origin story in the Six Elements universe.
That Sort of Partners by Hollis Siloh:
When Jake is assigned to work with the new guy at the precinct—their first robot cop—he’s nervous, to say the least. But his new partner turns out to be a great guy on every level. They work together and learn from each other—and then feelings start to develop.
Jake never thought he’d be the sort to fall for his partner. Or a robot.
Renegades of the Lost Sea by A.F. Stewart:
A god, his mother, and a Nightmare Crow.
Old enemies surface once again and undead pirates roam the seas. The man he killed, Black Axe Morgan, has returned for revenge on Captain Rafe Morrow, while from the shadows the Nightmare Crow reveals his true self. The two form an alliance and bring mayhem to the seas, all to draw out Captain Morrow and his crew.
Yet, this time, Rafe doesn’t face his enemies alone. Death walks the Outer Islands to save her son and the Sovereign of the Gods leads Captain Morrow past all the lies to the truth. The fate of Chaos and Harmony itself hangs in the balance of this fight.
Will centuries of schemes and plans reforge the bond of the realms, or will the Seven Kingdoms and the Outer Islands fall?
Can the God of Souls find his destiny before it is too late?
The endgame of gods begins…
Invasion: Proxima by James David Victor:
The most dangerous enemy is the one who knows you inside and out.
A Military Science Fiction adventure from #1 Bestselling author James David Victor
Solomon and the Gold Squad are back on Ganymede recovering from the shock of learning true nature of the war. When they are betrayed by a comrade, they barely escape with their lives. Their only chance is to take the battle directly to the enemy. Can they successfully invade Proxima and save humanity?
Invasion: Proxima is the fifth book in the Outcast Marines series. If you like science fiction with “heroes” who are anything but, the Outcast Marines will suck you into their battle to save humanity, from itself and the rest of the galaxy.
Boston, 1984. Even in a world without cell phones, messages come through loud and clear if one is listening. When thirty-something Nora Forrest travels to Manhattan to see a Broadway play starring her idol, an aging Irish actor named Hugh Sheenan, she doesn’t know whether what happens in the theater that night should be credited to witchcraft, extrasensory perception, synchronicity, or simple accident?and she knows that many people would tell her nothing had happened at all. Told through the voices of four people, Gillyflower is a story about intersections and connections?real, imaginary, seized, and eluded. It’s a book about everyday magic, crystalline memory, and the details that flow through time and space like an electrified mist. It’s a detective story, a love story, and a coming-of-age story?for the never really young and for the almost old.