Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2022

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, 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 urban fantasy, epic fantasy, YA fantasy, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, paranormal historical mystery, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, horror, non-fiction, wizards, dragons, fae, final girls, super soldiers, space marines, magical heists, crime-busting witches, haunted hotels 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 Final Women by Pardeep AujlaThe Final Women by Pardeep Aujla:

The mass murdering Phantom of Haven Cove is dead. For the one who killed him, however, life has never been the same.

How do you return to normality after facing such a monster? How do you live when consumed by guilt, anger, fear, and denial? How do you connect with others when no one understands what you’ve been through?

But there are others. Final Girls of their own Haven Cove massacres. And now, thirty years later, they must all face a new question…

What do you do when the killer returns?

Entangled by Odette C. BellEntangled by Odette C. Bell:

Some are born with a plan. Some are born into someone else’s plan.

Bruce Tan is the best soldier the Coalition has seen in decades. With a cold, efficient will and a hardened fist, he forces his way through every obstacle.

But the universe has another plan for him. When an alien artifact entangles his body and mind with the weak, panic-prone Cadet Emma Hawk, he must learn a new way.

And quickly.

The Coalition’s enemies soon kidnap them, and Bruce and Emma are thrust head-first into a fight for the universe. They have two options: stay together, as close as two entangled particles – or break apart and take everyone else with them.

Shadow Scarred by Bruce BlakeShadow Scarred by Bruce Blake:

The Book of Shadow was found, but the quest continues…

Llyris Fildarae is still reeling with the news of her heritage imparted by an old man claiming to be the great mage Amnayel Prisma—doubtful, though he’s proven able to perform unusual wonders even a magik couldn’t. He cured a boy, yet now demands a stave to aid in healing a fallen knight.

The quest she and her companions embark on requires them to travel to the Obsidian Fields, a place no one has visited since time immemorial. Even Prisma himself—if that is who he is—cannot tell them what it may look like or what to expect once there.

What dangers will they face? Magic? Deadly curses? The undead again?

No one knows. Not even a Shadow Scarred.

First Kill by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. ChaneyFirst Kill by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Chaney:

A routine reconnaissance mission. Find out where the enemy Mad Dogs are, and report back.


But Tomiko Reiser is a staff sergeant, a combat Marine, and Marines don’t run from a fight. When her patrol spots the enemy, she realizes the opportunity is there, and she maneuvers closer for a better look.

Combat never goes as planned, and Tomiko might have bit off more than she could chew. Faced with a powerful foe and a sergeant she doesn’t trust, she might have made a fatal mistake.

Dive into this brand new short story from Staff Sergeant Tomiko Reiser’s point of view from the Dragon Award nominated Sentenced to War series.

Gods of War by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. ChaneyGods of War by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Chaney:

As the flames of the Human/Naxli war are fanned into a blaze, the Second Combined Assault Brigade is thrown into the conflict.

But with troopers from throughout humanity, including former enemies, Gunnery Sergeant Reverent Pelletier struggles to mold his platoon into an effective fighting force, all while butting heads with his Mad Dog commander.

Under water, in the vacuum of space, and leading local forces, the platoon puts their stamp on history. But there is a limit to any fighting force. Will and discipline alone can’t defeat overwhelming firepower. When faced with insurmountable odds, can Rev and his troopers survive, much less accomplish their mission?

Join Rev, Tomiko, Kelly, and the rest of the Marines and soldiers as they fight the Naxli aggression that threatens humankind’s very existence.

Magic Alias by Fatima FayezMagic Alias by Fatima Fayez:

What if the past two years of your life were a lie?

Yesterday, I believed I was the smartest witch at the supernatural agency. My magic and power made me their most effective agent, reclaiming stolen artifacts and tracking down dangerous rogues.

Today, I know the organization I work for is actually a front for a sprawling criminal network that threatens to upend the paranormal world. It only took a serial killer to break the news to me and turn my world upside down.

All this time, I believed the agency didn’t know about my dark secret but it turns out I was the mark all along. Now I have to figure out how deep I’m in.

Tomorrow, I’m taking them down.

I’m having a bad day and I have a feeling it’s about to get

By Your Side by Erica FriedmanBy Your Side: The First 100 Years of Yuri Anime and Manga by Erica Friedman:

The Untold Story of Lesbian Love in Japanese Anime and Comics

“By Your Side is the complete Yuri resource I only ever dreamed could exist. Decades in the making, this glorious collection surveys, analyzes, and contextualizes Yuri with unparalleled detail and enthusiasm. Friedman graces readers with illuminating insights as they follow her through a century of the genre’s evolution and revolution. By sharing her extraordinary knowledge, she provides inquirers, scholars, and aficionados alike with a deeper appreciation and understanding of lesbian anime and manga while galvanizing them towards the next era of Yuri.”

-Nicki Bauman, Yurimother

“The first in-depth study of Yuri in English.”

-James Welker, Professor of Cross-Cultural and Japanese Studies, Kanagawa University

For a Few Witches More by Lily Harper HartFor a Few Witches More by Lily Harper Hart:

Casper Creek is a town in flux. Contractors are on the scene making plans for the new restaurant, owner Hannah Hickok is plotting ridiculous couple’s costumes for the Halloween party, and there’s a new demon in town.

Instead of coming after Hannah directly, the demon does an end-run around the witch and starts possessing the area children … and sending them into a frenzy. Through a fluke, Hannah manages to put an end to the first attack. Unfortunately, a wave of them are set to follow.

Hannah’s boyfriend Cooper Wyatt believes she can handle almost anything, but a threat against children puts her in a tough position … especially since the demon seems to be demanding something that’s impossible for Hannah to give him. He wants to be there for her, but this fight is one he’s not certain they can win.

Demons are nothing new for Hannah, but this one has a particular agenda, and nobody will survive if it comes to fruition. Because she has no other options, Hannah is forced to join forces with an enemy who can provide an exponential power boost. Will it be a mistake?

Hannah is determined to protect those she loves. This time, the foe might be too strong for her to defeat.

Wicked Graves by Lily Harper HartWicked Graves by Lily Harper Hart:

Maddie Graves-Winters should be preparing for the biggest day of her life – she’s going to become a mother in three months after all – but that’s impossible without the right crib. That means an outing to nearby Shadow Lake with her husband Nick, which turns into a nightmare she wasn’t expecting when a local author is struck in the middle of the road and left for dead.

Ivy Morgan-Harker didn’t even know they had a famous author in town until she was already dead. When helping her husband Jack and his new partner search the dead woman’s house, she finds an entire wall of grievances, which seems to indicate the victim had more than one enemy.

When Maddie and Ivy cross paths, sparks fly … in a magical way. It isn’t long before the truth comes out and they join forces to solve a mystery.
Apparently, the author world is full of kooks, or at least that’s what the women manage to uncover. There are too many suspects and not enough motive. Still, they dig … but the answers they seek are elusive.

There’s a killer running around northern Lower Michigan, and Ivy and Maddie are determined to find out who it is … even if they put themselves in danger to uncover the truth. Their husbands, however frustrated, stand back to watch the show.

They say truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, that truth will cast a pall over multiple lives.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride because some friendships are destined to become legendary. This is one of them.

Rune of Secrets by Kelly N. JaneRune of Secrets by Kelly N. Jane:

She craves vengeance. He requires justice. Fate demands both.

Without enchanted powers and struck with a curse, Princess Rowena could not prevent her family’s murder or save herself from the fallout.

Vulnerable but determined, she dares to conquer her enemies and free her people. But secret deals force her into a betrothal, tempting her into a bold decision that could cost her life.

Rowena has nothing left but to avenge her family before she dies. Until the most terrifying, yet hauntingly handsome fae arrives, demanding she follows her destiny.

Rowena has the power to lead her people or destroy them.

Kwelengsen Dawn by David M. KellyKwelengsen Dawn by David M. Kelly:

When you lose everything you love, the whole world becomes the enemy.

After his planet was invaded by ruthless Corporate forces, engineer Logan Twofeathers is trapped on Earth by the authorities, who are more afraid of starting a war than helping their people. He may be safe, but many others are still missing.

When security tries to arrest him on trumped-up charges, he must find his own way to return to Kwelengsen. His only option is to seek out someone from his past–a borderline psychotic, who might just be crazy enough to help.

Now, he must draw on all his strength and resilience as he undertakes a precarious and violent journey into the unknown, with enemies lurking in every shadow. The outlook is bleak, and all he has is his grit and sense of honor. Will that be enough?

The battle is over. But the war is about to begin.

Daggers and Destiny by Ryver KnightDaggers and Destiny by Ryver Knight:

A strange stone. A pursuit for power. A new beginning.

An orphan with no job, no home, and no last name, sixteen-year-old Mala scrapes along day by day with her younger brother, Baz, in their small village.

But when she discovers a mysterious stone, her whole world comes crashing down.

Suddenly, she faces massive adversity, a quest for bloody revenge, and a power so great she fears it.

Will she find peace amidst the chaos?

Or is her world fated to burn?

The Haunted Hotel Hoopla by Amanda M. LeeThe Haunted Hotel Hoopla by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes is struggling. She thought finding her family would fix everything. It hasn’t, and the threat that’s cast a long shadow over her life is only getting larger. Still, when an opportunity arises to go to Savannah – one of her bucket list cities – she jumps at the chance.

Savannah was made famous by ghosts, but five missing women – and the return of only one body – seems to point to a different sort of culprit. Whatever is going on, it’s weird … and it’s only getting weirder.

Charlie’s mind keeps wandering to the friend she lost, who keeps haunting her dreams, but her determination never wavers. That’s why she hits the ground hot and hard … and the answers that start unspooling do so at a fantastic rate.

There’s just one problem: Whatever evil is haunting Savannah, it’s more than ghosts. Actually, there might be two problems, because the ghosts in Savannah are multiplying exponentially and nobody knows if it’s tied to the missing women.

Charlie has enemies coming out of the woodwork, although the big one is elusive. The answers she seeks are close, and they might just be provided by an unlikely source. It will take all of them working together, every faction in town, to beat back a terrific foe.

Don’t skip to the end in this one, because the ultimate twist is about to descend. Prepare yourself because it’s going to be a heckuva ride.

More Modern Mythmakers by Michael McCartyMore Modern Mythmakers: 25 Interviews with Horror and Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers by Michael McCarty

More Modern Mythmakers
features Horror, Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy’s most influential writers and filmmakers interviewed about the art and craft of their genres.

The 25 interviews include:
Steve Alten, Reggie Bannister, Terry Brooks, Charles de Lint, Dennis Etchison, John Everson, Alan Dean Foster, Ray Garton, Sephera Giron, Owl Goingback, Charles Grant, Nancy Holder, Paul Kane, Ronald Kelly, Joe Lansdale, Bentley Little, Jeff Long, Jonathan Maberry, Elizabeth Massie, Larry Niven, William Stout, Jeff Strand, Harry Turtledove, J.N. Williamson, Connie Willis

Foreword by Gerard Houarner
Afterword by Jeffrey Thomas

If you’re interested in books on writing, the horror genre, science fiction, famous authors, or even becoming a full time author, this book is a must-have.

More Modern Mythmakers is the sequel to 2015’s Modern Mythmakers by Michael McCarty, published by Crystal Lake Publishing.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

An Unforgiving Desert by S.J. PajonasAn Unforgiving Desert by S.J. Pajonas:

A ship hijacked. An arrogant and handsome classmate. A relentless desert.

Skylar Kawabata is so close to having her Class Three pilot’s license, she can taste it. She’s worked two years in isolation to get to the final exam, and nothing is going to stop her now, not even Kalvin, the class pretty boy high flyer who can’t stop calling her Princess. She’s going to kill him if he calls her that one more time…

When their class ship is hijacked during the final exam, and Skylar and Kalvin are marooned in the desert, they’ll need more than patience and a supply of water to stay alive until rescue comes.

Will Skylar and Kalvin make it out of the unforgiving desert in one piece? Or will they kill each other before the desert kills them?

An Unforgiving Desert is the prequel novella to The Amagi science fiction romance series. If you like talented heroines, cocky, self-assured men, and a hot desert gamble, then you’ll devour S. J. Pajonas’s gutsy action-adventure. Be sure to read An Unexpected Debt after!

Shackles of Guilt by Kris RuhlerShackles of Guilt by Kris Ruhler:

He’s the boy next door. She’s a princess. But when blood and war reach their doorstep, will they unite or be forever pushed apart?

Young and ambitious Earmon has climbed up the ladder in Levitor city to become the Queen’s topmost advisor. He seems to have everything he’s dreamt of but for one thing: Princess Zenithia’s love.

When he witnesses an intruder inside the city and decides to keep it quiet, he unwittingly unleashes a terrifying chain of events. His friend, Turak, has an episode that results in a fracture in Levitor’s shield, and the horde of Reavers prowling outside the city advances.

In a world of intrigue, blood, and war, Earmon must battle for survival against savages and beasts.

His hardest trial is yet to come, and he will have to face a choice no one should ever have to make: protect the life of the one he loves the most at the risk of losing his own.

In the end, will he be enough to save her and the city?

Stung by the Cobra by Aurora SpringerStung by the Cobra by Aurora Springer:

Shan Zennia, Senior Curator of the Archives of Galactic Culture on Lumos, plays a dangerous double role as a researcher and a spy for Solarian Intelligence. She embarks on a new mission to observe the spring festival on Harappi, a planet recently conquered by the ambitious Emperor and now governed by his niece, Domina Allia.

Zennia finds unexpected mysteries on the planet, including the enigmatic Nagari. Once a victorious commander in the Emperor’s space fleet and nicknamed the Cobra, he was forced to abandon his military career when Allia claimed him as her consort. Her abusive treatment has driven him to the brink of madness.

Intrigued by the ex-commander and aware of his value as a source of information on the enemy, Zennia agrees to meet him during the festival of rebirth. Opposing forces clash at the height of the celebrations, catalyzing deadly violence. Can Nagari and Zennia survive the chaos and win a new and happier life?

Wilde Magic by Jenn StarkWilde Magic by Jenn Stark:

Off the grid and on the run since she was a teen, Sara Wilde has made a name for herself as an artifact hunter with an edge—finding the most magical treasures on the planet with the flip of a Tarot card.

But when she’s hired to steal a powerful fertility idol on the last night of Carnival, Sara discovers her rough-and-tumble skills are no match for the new, mysterious buyer she’s attracted. Rich, demanding, and sexy as sin, this Magician promises to be nothing but trouble. Yet, for what he’s willing to shell out for her services, Sara can afford the risk.

Or so she thinks.

As the danger—and the payoffs—mount, the power of Tarot leads Sara from the rollicking party of Rio de Janeiro to the grand historical cemeteries of Savannah, then on to the ostentatious museum halls of New York City. Meanwhile, the relentless Magician weaves an ever more seductive spell, hinting at a world she’s barely glimpsed.

To keep from getting burned by passion, power, or betrayal, Sara’s going to need some Wilde Magic.

The Ghostly Tower by A.F. StewartThe Ghostly Tower by A.F. Stewart:

Meet Heyward and Andersen, consulting detectives in a paranormal London you never imagined…

Elspeth Heyward has never met a puzzle she didn’t want to solve, or an adventure she didn’t relish. Taking Sherlock Homes as her benchmark, she is determined to be the best detective and monster hunter in London.

Lars Andersen’s ambitions aren’t nearly as demanding. He just wants to stay alive, out of trouble, and out of jail. But when your partner likes guns and dynamite, that could be a challenge. Can he survive his new employment?

The Case: Discover if a stone tower on their client’s estate is haunted. It should be straightforward, but ghosts aren’t all they find. When they dig up a body, they also unearth a murder and a tangle of secrets. Secrets they’d better unravel quickly before someone else dies.

Alien Pursuit by James David VictorAlien Pursuit by James David Victor:

They held off the initial alien assault but humanity is far from safe as the full force of the alien invasion is unleashed on mankind.

The initial attack by the Vhast alien armada was repulsed, in large part by the heroic deeds of the Tin Man. Unfortunately, the jump gate back to Earth was destroyed and it’s a long journey home for the small crew of the gigantic mining ship turned warship. They must get back to Earth to help save humanity, but an elite alien warship is determined to prevent that from happening. Can the crew of the Tin Man outsmart, and out fight, an elite alien warrior and return home or has the gigantic space mech met it’s match?

Alien Pursuit is the second book in the Tin Man Space Opera Adventure. If you like fast-paced sci-fi adventures, make Tin Man your next epic space adventure.

Download Alien Pursuit and see if the giant space mech known as Tin Man can save humanity!

Women of Wonder by Danielle WilliamsWomen of Wonder by Danielle Williams:

Looking for magic-wielding women with brave hearts, amazing abilities, and a sense of humor? You’ve come to the right place.

Danielle Williams, fantasy fan extraordinaire and author of the inimitable sci-fi epic Steel City, Veiled Kingdom, brings together three of her favorite heroines in this special value collection that’s sure to leave you smiling.

Women of Wonder contains the following stories:

The Capramancer Next Door – Down-to-earth mage Will Schafer has her hands full moving into a new house while keeping her mischievous herd of magical goats in line. Meeting handsome gardener Rickert Nash takes the sting out of moving…until his shadowy past comes roaring back to bite him in the butt. Now Will and the herd must step in to save their neighbor from getting mulched—but can a girl and her goats defeat a formidable hunter, or are they all about to buy the farm?

The Witching License – Mavis Burnsides is on her deathbed when her best friend brings her a Witching License. Now she’s got magical powers—and one last night to make up for a lifetime of regrets. By turns sassy and touching, The Witching License is a gentle tale of regret, romance, and righting wrongs.

Debuts and Dragons – Though she’s not much to look at, dragon Sellafield Terrormouth never worried about snagging a mate for herself. But now that her little sister is about to debut in dragon society, Sella’s got one night to go from drab to fab. If she fails, she’ll lose her entire dowry—and quite possibly doom herself to eternal spinsterhood! Can this plain dragon get herself a date, or is her future about to go up in flames?

Escape doesn’t have to cost big bucks!

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