Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2021

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
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 and small press 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. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, space westerns, military science fiction, horror, time travel, first contact, vampires, wizards, dragons, black knights, barbarian kings, blood cults, aliens, monsters, space cruises, intergalactic smuggler, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts 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:

The Rogue Wolf by K.T. BeltThe Rogue Wolf by K.T. Belt:

Billions dead, entire worlds under siege, and no end in sight.

The most destructive war in the history of the galaxy has arrived and every able-bodied man and woman is mobilized, save one. Carmen Grey has been released from the facility into an uncertain future. The young Clairvoyant can fly and read minds and has been trained since the age of six to do one thing and one thing only: kill. Yet Carmen struggles with an entirely different battle—how to ring up customers without them running away from her.

As she tries desperately to keep her life from falling apart, everything changes when someone close to her is swept into the conflict. Carmen vowed to never fight again, but she will have to rely on her best skill in a race against time. When everything is on the line, will she be able to stay good?

The Black Knight by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Black Knight by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

The Lords of Angilbert have been a thorn in the side of the Kings of Azakoria for decades, refusing to pay taxes or to accept the authority of the throne.

King Kurval of Azakoria inherited the conflict with the Black Knight of Angilbert from his predecessor. Determined to bring the Black Knight to heel once and for all, Kurval besieges Castle Angilbert. But when he finally comes face to face with the mysterious Black Knight, he’s in for a shock.

The law demands that the Black Knight be executed for treason. However, Kurval does not want to sentence the Black Knight to death, especially once he learns that the Lords of Angilbert have a very good reason to hate the Kings of Azakoria.

But is it even possible to find a peaceful solution or can the feud with the Black Knight of Angilbert end only in bloodshed and death?

The new sword and sorcery adventure by two-time Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert and her occasional alter ego, 1930s pulp writer Richard Blakemore. This is a novella of 33400 words or approx. 112 print pages in the Kurval series but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Warning: This is a dark story, which contains scenes of a violent and sexual nature.

The Bridge by J.S. BreukelaarThe Bridge by J.S. Breukelaar:

Meera and her twin sister Kai are among thousands of hybrid women—called Mades—bred by the Father in his Blood Temple cult. Meera is rescued by a mysterious healer and storyteller, Narn, but her sister, Kai, does not survive the Father’s “unmaking.” Years later, when the cult is discovered and abolished, Meera, still racked with guilt and grief, enrolls in college to take advantage of a generous new Redress Program. When Narn’s conjure stories buy Meera a free ride to a notorious horror reading series, she is soon the darling of the lit set, feted by the other students, finally whole, finally free of the idea that she should have died instead of her sister. But college is not all it seems—Narn has lost a sister too, and Meera agrees to try and find her if Narn will keep feeding Meera the stories that are opening her up to memories she’s never acknowledged, secrets she’s never wanted to know, about Narn’s and the Father’s connection to a violent campus stalker.

The Art of the Hunt by Lindsay BurokerArt of the Hunt by Lindsay Buroker:

Our heroes have escaped with the ancient dragon gate, but powerful enemies are right behind them.

If they can’t figure out the magic of the mysterious artifact, and find great allies and resources in another world, their hopes of overthrowing their tyrannical wizard rulers will end as surely as their lives.

 

 

Jury Duty by Peter CawdronJury Duty by Peter Cawdron:

FIRST CONTACT is a series of stand-alone novels that explore the concept of humanity’s first interaction with extraterrestrial life.

The United Nations is thrown into chaos when an alien spacecraft is discovered buried beneath the ice in Antarctica. With no one nation able to lay claim to the craft, a multinational effort is undertaken to salvage the vessel, which is estimated to have crashed several hundred thousand years ago. Rather than leaving key decisions to hostile governments or their armies, a jury is established to represent the average global citizen, being selected from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Their job is to review findings and guide the process of discovery.

The FIRST CONTACT series is like BLACK MIRROR or THE TWILIGHT ZONE in that it is based on a common theme rather than common characters. This allows the series to be read in any order. Technically, they’re all first as they all deal with how we might respond to contact with an alien intelligence. This series explores the social, political, religious and scientific aspects of First Contact.

A Grimoire for Gamblers by Amanda CreiglowA Grimoire for Gamblers by Amanda Creiglow:

Magic may be secret, but it’ll kill you anyway.

Small town mayor’s assistant Elizabeth has enough on her plate grieving her father’s suicide. She doesn’t need his stash of magical knowledge in the attic. She doesn’t need the hidden supernatural subculture of monsters it pulls her into. And she certainly doesn’t need hints that her father’s madness might have been a smokescreen for something far darker.

But uncovering her father’s secrets could be the only way Elizabeth can stop a string of suspicious suicides… if the local wizard doesn’t rip the memories out of her mind, first.

Wizards, right?

Simultaneous Times Vol. 2 editec by Jean-Paul GarnierSimultaneous Times Vol. 2, edited by Jean-Paul Garnier:

From Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, California. The second volume of the companion book series to the Space Cowboy Books Presents: Simultaneous Times science fiction anthology podcast. In Simultaneous Times Volume Two Space Cowboy Books brings you a collection of science fiction short stories from our local Hi-Desert authors, featuring both stories that have been featured on the podcast, as well as some appearing for the first time. An eclectic mix of approaches to the science fiction genre which range from rebellions against oppressive robots to alien encounters to pure campy fun, with writing styles varying from traditional to experimental. The collection features nine different authors, each paired up with five different illustrators to bring each story to life with original artwork.

Galaxy Cruise: The Maiden Voyage by Marcus Alexander HartGalaxy Cruise: The Maiden Voyage by Marcus Alexander Hart:

Humanity needed a hero. It got a karaoke DJ.

Leo MacGavin is not the brightest specimen of humanity. But when he inadvertently rescues a flirty alien heiress, he’s promoted from second-rate lounge entertainer to captain of the galaxy’s most sophisticated cruise ship.

Before he can flee in terror, a human-hating executive gives Leo an ultimatum—complete the vessel’s maiden voyage or mankind’s last colony will be turned into a sewage dump. To make matters worse, a militant cyborg is undermining his authority, a giant spider is terrifying the passengers, and a sentient plant keeps stealing all the beer.

If Leo ever wants to see his home again, he’ll have to keep the guests happy through seven days of onboard antics and madcap shore excursions. As strange malfunctions tear the ship apart, can he hold his rag-tag crew together, or will he flush the last bastion of humanity down the crapper?

Bloody Magic by N.R. HairstonBloody Magic by N.R. Hairston:

The second I enter the world Pilo, I get a fireball hurled towards my face. My crew and I end up in a fight that has nothing to do with us. Now we’ve offended some very powerful people, and they’re coming for us.

We’re used to fighting, but they made the mistake of going after our loved ones. Now we’re coming for them. No Mercy.

This is a fight to the death. These people mean to kill us and everyone we love. My crew and I can’t let that happen. We’ll fight to our last breath.

They call me the World Breaker. They call my crew the Wrath Bringers. We never back down from a fight, but this time I wonder if any of us will make it out alive.

Bourbon Street Ghosts by Lily Harper HartBourbon Street Ghosts by Lily Harper Hart:

Harper Harlow-Monroe and Zander Pritchett have been excited for their upcoming ghost conference in New Orleans for years, since before they were involved with their significant others. What was once a trip for two has now become a trip for four … but that doesn’t make them any less excited.

Ofelia Archer has just found out that her bar Krewe is about to be inundated with ghost hunters … and she’s beyond excited. She’s looking forward to a good week, which means more money to funnel into her next business venture.

Two worlds collide when Harper and Ofelia meet in Jackson Square, a ghost catching their attention. Before they realize what’s happening, they’re embroiled in a huge mystery … one that involves New Orleans’ colorful past and worry for the future.

Harper and Ofelia have a lot in common and they bond quickly. That adds a colorful edge to their friendship. Add Zander to the mix and the Big Easy is in for big trouble.

Hang on because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Between ghosts, Zander’s attitude, and Ofelia’s mother … it’s going to be a very strange trip. It could also be deadly.

Note: This is a crossover book between Harper Harlow and Ofelia Archer. It’s set after Ghostly Travels and Hex, Drugs & Rock and Roll.

The Asylum Aberration by Amanda M. LeeThe Asylum Aberration by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes has spent her entire life wondering who she is, why she was abandoned as a child, and what’s behind the magical powers she can wield in the blink of an eye.

She’s finally getting her answers.

Now that she’s been reunited with her birth mother and brother, the search is on for her father. He’s supposed to be somewhere in Boston … but where? He’s fallen out of touch and finding him is virtually impossible.

Thankfully for Charlie, the Legacy Foundation’s next assignment is in a suburb of the very city where she lives, which means there’s plenty of time to find her father and solve the mystery of a haunted former hospital that’s apparently eating construction workers on a regular basis.

Heavenstone Asylum was considered the height of sophistication in psychiatric circles back in the day. In the years since the facility closed, the main doctor’s legacy has been tarnished by horror stories of treatments gone wrong and disappearing patients.

The second Charlie walks into the building, she recognizes that the past is hardly buried within the walls. There are tortured souls at every turn, and it’s her job to help them.

Heavenstone’s history makes for interesting reading but the harder Charlie digs, the more horrifying the story. Somehow she needs to uncover the truth … and survive the ghosts long enough to free them.

It’s going to take everything she’s got to see things through until the end.

All Charlie wants are answers. She’s going to get them. Surviving long enough to do anything with them is another story.

It’s about to be the Legacy Foundation’s finest hour … or is it?

Thunder Moon Tussle by Torn MacAlesterThunder Moon Tussle by Torn MacAlester:

Nils Carmike, a fallen from grace astronaut turned smuggler, forges a new life on the lunar frontier. Harassed by the strikingly beautiful and demanding Deputy Miller, he is faced with fines and conflict, resulting in a tumultuous relationship and ultimatum he can’t refuse. Running for their life they struggle against their pasts, hoping to outsmart the common faceless enemy and forced to focus on the only rule that matters: survive!

 

 

Blue Sun Armada by Scott MoonBlue Sun Armada by Scott Moon:

War is coming.
Duke Uron Marlboro led his mighty house to victory in the Zezner war. The last thing he expected was for his allies to turn on him.

With a new civil war brewing, the Duke and his family have one option to survive the king’s wrath—

They must flee.
Will they survive the political games of their past? Can they escape their doomed planet and find a new place to thrive before their once great house is destroyed… forever.

Blue Sun Armada is the first in a new epic space opera set in the far-flung future. Legendary mech battles, intense fleet engagements, and deadly politics all make Blue Sun Armada a magnificent read. Pick your side and buy now to start the fight for survival!

Blood Moon by Nazri NoorBlood Moon by Nazri Noor:

All vampires suck. Sterling just happens to be very good at it.

Vainglorious vampire Sterling is forced to trade his big city hedonism for a trip to a sleepy mountain town, where mangled dead bodies have been discovered. Soon he’s entangled with snooty vampire nobles, territorial werewolves, and a society of law-enforcing sorcerers.

The locals aren’t so bad, like the luscious young lady at the fruit shop, or the hunky electrician whose smile sends out sparks. But they’re distractions from the hunt for the mountain murderer. And then there’s the eerie enigma: why are all these corpses missing their faces?

Catalyst by Amanda Quintenz-FiedlerCatalyst by Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler:

When a serious accident triggers dangerous medical episodes, 25-year-old Taylor must unravel the clues in her past to save her own life.

Taylor’s old life is just a memory. No more dinners with friends, afternoon gardening, or partying with her sister. Seemingly at random, violent episodes catapult her body into shock and her mind into her past. She’s lonely, depressed and confined to a hospital. What’s worse, she’s surrounded by medical professionals who don’t know what’s wrong with her and won’t let her leave.

When a handsome young doctor’s interest ignites Taylor’s desire to live, she and another patient set out to solve the riddle of her mysterious illness themselves. But as the clues mount, Dr. Riaz begins to doubt her sanity. And as the physical toll of her fits escalates, Taylor discovers the only way to solve the riddle is from inside an episode.

Can Taylor discover the key to the illness that plagues her in time to save her life and build a future worth living?

With elements of science fiction, mystery and romance, Catalyst is the fast-paced first installment of Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler’s riveting Möbius Syndrome trilogy.

You See the Monster by Luke SmitherdYou See the Monster by Luke Smitherd:

The sound hits Guy in some low, forgotten part of his psyche – a part of him that understands the truth about shadows. The part of him that knows the deep, dark truth behind fairy stories and myths.

Guy is about to finish writing his breakthrough online article. He overheard the story by chance in a pub and it’s guaranteed to go viral – all he needs to do is persuade the World’s Unluckiest Man to talk to him. His best friend Larry’s quest for killer clickbait material has led him to a recently-appeared shanty town in Glasgow, where he finds some kind of urban voodoo cult. Ex-cop Sam has already come face to face with the terrifying force behind both these phenomena, but he’s been trying to put it out of his mind.

When Larry is killed in inexplicably gruesome circumstances, Guy knows he’s also a target. The evidence of malevolent power is suddenly proliferating – but why now? Together, Sam and Guy enter a shadow world of ancient monsters and modern curses, in a battle to figure out the rules of the game and bring them to the light before it’s far too late.

Drifter's Folly by Glynn StewartDrifter’s Folly by Glynn Stewart:

An enemy on the run to neutral space
An elite squadron beyond the reach of any backup
A secret deal that could doom the whole sector…

When United Planets Alliance Captain Henry Wong and Ambassador Sylvia Todorovich attempted to bring peace to the Ra Sector, they turned to the Drifters for neutral ground. Instead, the nomadic spacers betrayed the summit and attempted to kill everyone there.

With peace forged despite the Drifters’ betrayal, Henry and Sylvia take an elite squadron in pursuit of the Drifter Convoy. Their enemies have friends at every turn, neutral worlds who will give them shelter—and if the UPA breaches that neutrality, everything Henry and Sylvia have worked for could crash down in flames.

If the UPA is to keep the peace in the stars of a fallen empire, their diplomats must be untouchable, their honor unblemished. But as Henry’s superiors prepare for all-out war, his ships fly ever closer to a deadly trap laid by an enemy that knows them all too well…

Find(H)er by Charles WelchhFind(H)er by Charles Welch:

Laurie is a woman with a penchant for displaying impatience and judgement. She does not like to be bothered, particularly when she is in a hurry, which is a most unfortunate thing. One morning on her way to an important appointment, Laurie is confronted by a homeless woman who wants a small amount of money, and respect.

Instead, of respect, Laurie tells the woman that she is a lost soul, feeding off the back of humanity.

What Laurie doesn’t know is that this particular homeless woman is not simply an unfortunate, down on her luck member of society.

She is a powerful, ancient God, as old as time itself. A God who has been escorting mankind to the Land of the Dead for an eternity. Soon, Laurie finds herself lost in this timeless, corrupt land.

Boone is a man who desires nothing more than to be known as ordinary. He does not like attention from others and detests physical touch. Boone lives a life of contentment, until the day that he discovers his new gift. It is a gift that Boone has not sought, and one that he does not want, for he suddenly has acquired the gift to find things that have been lost.

Amid his struggle to comprehend where his gift has come from, and why it has selected him, Boone’s best friend, the only person he trusts, Sly, comes to him with a request.

Sly asks him find Laurie.

The Land of the Dead is a poisoned land. It is a land filled with angry and vengeful Gods who protect the Hall of Truth from those who have not yet been judged for their sinful existences.

Sly will stop at nothing to find his lost love, Laurie.

Can Laurie be saved before she is judged in the Hall of Truth?

Boone and Sly will need to survive the dangers of a lost world to save her.

They will need to overcome a wasted land, and the evil that desires their death, to Find(h)er.

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