Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for July 2023

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 June 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, historical fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, Steampunk, horror, vampires, dwarves, elves, dragons, superheroes, time travel, aliens, airships, fly gods, lesbian space pirates, 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 Morass: Servant of the Fly God by Zachary AshfordThe Morass: Servant of the Fly God by Zachary Ashford

What if you had been kidnapped by a serial killer and your only hope of escape was cut off by rising floodwater?

“A terrifying descent into a nightmarish scenario, rendered with skill, imagination and a merciless desire to immerse the reader in undiluted horror. This is a terrific work of horror fiction by one of Australia’s best genre writers. I couldn’t put it down.”—Jamie Blanks, director of Urban Legend and Valentine

The Australian Outback is a place mired in myth, folklore, and rumour that’s inspired some of the best horror fiction and creature horror books. Some say it’s full of deadly creatures. Others claim it’s rife with serial killers hunting for backpackers and stranded tourists. Whatever the cause, young people in central Queensland are disappearing and the locals are frightened.

Katy is fresh from college and ready to research and write her magnum opus, a book investigating the many disappearances of outback youths in Australia. When she meets Kip, a guitarist on his way to the city, she knows she’s onto something good and that she can prove her hypothesis: there’s nothing there for the youth of today and they’re running away, searching for employment and prospects in the city.

Unfortunately, she’s wrong. In this terrifying cosmic horror book, there is a killer in the outback. One that thinks God is the ancient creature that lurks in the swamps near his property. With floodwaters rising, he’s certain Katy and Kip are the sacrifices that will allow the entity to emerge from the morass and cleanse the world of sinners. One terrifying abduction later, he has them both imprisoned.

As they struggle to escape the terror and the torture, their desperate fight for survival will lead only to more horror. Because their kidnapper is not crazy. His god is real. His god is hungry, and it is screaming to be reborn.

Aurealis-nominated Australian author Zachary Ashford turns his attention to the isolation of the outback with this fast-paced horror. The tension thrums. The brutality screams. The desperation of his protagonists’ plight bleeds from the page. For fans of extreme horror, splatterpunk, gore, violent films like Wolf Creek, or international movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the grotesque creatures of movies like Aliens, The Thing, or The Fly, The Morass: Servant of the Fly God is not to be missed.

Will Katy and Kip survive? Will their killer succeed? Will the God in the swamp take over the world. Buy this supernatural thriller book now, and discover their fate.

Brave New Dawn by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. ChaneyBrave New Dawn by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Chaney:

Live for today. Prepare for tomorrow.

The unknown reaches of the galaxy still offer danger for Sergeant Major Reverent Pelletier and his small group of Marines and karnans. They must be ready to protect their own.

But back in human space, war has reared its ugly head once again. Pax Naxli is done, and the central government pays little attention to the Exiled Fleet. On their own now, they can’t count on help when the inevitable comes a’knocking.

Without any outside support and unable to return home, Rev, Tomiko, and the rest must figure out how to survive.

Rev is a Marine, born and bred to fight and survive, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, but one way or another, his journey is coming to an end.

The only question is: will he and his friends live long enough to see it?

Cursed by Lindsay BurokerCursed by Lindsay Buroker:

The final installment in the Legacy of Magic series!

Matti Puletasi has defeated her enemies, rescued her parents, fallen in love with the elf of her dreams, and even started thinking of having children. Will her life finally return to normal (as normal as possible when one is mated to an elf and has a goblin for a roommate and a dragon for a neighbor)?

All Matti has left to do is to fulfill her obligation to Mikki the Wrench. That task, however, takes an unexpected turn when she encounters a powerful dark-elven artifact.

Before she knows it, the foul relic has marked her, leaving her cursed as it steals her magic—and threatens to steal her life.

If she can’t figure out how to remove the curse, she may lose everything she’s fought so hard to achieve.

Uninvited House Ghosts by Rachel FordUninvited House Ghosts by Rachel Ford:

Ghosts are real, and they’re watching over their families. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. But not for the Evanses.

Tennessee Evans comes from a long, undistinguished line of crooks, grifters, layabouts, and rascals. She’s made her share of mistakes, sure, but she’s trying to break the mold. Even after a contentious breakup that hits her emotionally and financially, she works hard, keeps her head up, and carries on.

Then her ex winds up murdered in her backyard. And her prints are all over the murder weapon. She didn’t do it, but no one believes her.

Especially not the pigheaded, infuriatingly hot lead detective investigating the case. On the contrary, she seems to have it out for Tennessee.

Tennessee knows she needs help, and she needs it fast. What she doesn’t know is that the ancestral spirit council is on the job. Which is probably for the best, since their last few missions have ended in disaster – and the odd, accidental death. (Sorry about that, Jane!)

The council dispatches a 20th century American tax expert and an 18th century British criminal to tackle the case. Whether the pair can put aside centuries of personal and cultural differences to save Tennessee is anyone’s guess.

But one thing’s for sure – Marshmeadow will never be the same after this ill-advised haunting!

A supernatural cozy mystery with outrageous shenanigans, cute dogs, found family, a slow burn lesbian romance, and an old, definitely haunted house full of secrets.

Sisters of Fangs by Carlo HartSisters of Fangs by Carlo Hart:

When Emily and Luna, two sisters from Los Angeles, hear about all the paranormal activity on Frazier Mountain, they decide to move there and see if the stories are true. Armed with a camera and a tripod, they are ready to capture footage that will go viral and jump start their fledgling social media careers.

They make friends and enjoy the sweet mountain life before one of them is kidnapped and they find themselves trying to solve a dangerous mystery.

Now they find themselves surrounded by dark woods and horrible creatures. They face vampires, hellhounds, demons, aliens, a talking polar bear and a secret lab. Will they fight the growing evil before it takes over the mountain and then the world.

Sisters of Fangs is the follow up urban fantasy series to the Mountain of Fangs series that has scared so many readers deep into the night.

Rent a cabin on Frazier Mountain. Come for the quiet, stay for the monsters.

Witches of the Deep by Lily Harper HartWitches of the Deep by Lily Harper Hart:

Hali Waverly thought she’d seen the worst the world had to offer. Then her boyfriend Gray Hunter’s parents arrived on her beach. Now the horror truly begins.

Hali has a big problem…and that’s not including the skeletons that are taking over the beach thanks to an errant spell.

Nobody knows who cast the spell, or more importantly why, but Hali is determined to find out. When she’s not dodging visits from the people Gray wants to see least in his life that is.

Hali is a fixer, which means she can’t stay out of the situation. Will she make matters better or worse, though?

Gray knows exactly how he sees his future going. His parents aren’t part of it. Despite that, part of him doesn’t want to shut the door forever. If he lets them in, though, will he lose everything he’s been working toward?

Gray and Hali are a team. Dark forces are moving in on them from every direction, however. It’s going to take both of them working together to come out on the other side.

Even then, it might not be enough.

Death is coming for St. Pete Beach, and it’s not taking any prisoners.

Little Nothing by Dee HollowayLittle Nothing by Dee Holloway

Two young women race to turn the tide in a Florida on the brink of civil war…

Everyone knows that Jonnie trains and races the limerunners, the deadly water horses that live in the swamps and streams around the town of Sawgrass and that she’s got a way with them that none of the local men can match. And everyone suspects that while Bess works at her family’s inn, The Nag’s Head, she sews her little nothings, magic in every stitch, to protect her beloved Jonnie and their family. What they don’t know is that Jonnie runs messages, stitched in code by Bess, for the Union Army. But now the Confederate forces have taken the nearby fort and they want to use Jonnie’s limerunners and Jonnie herself as weapons against the Union. And all of Bess’s magic won’t be enough to save them when they’re caught in a web of betrayal in a Florida being torn apart by burgeoning civil war. Only Ada Nuit, the Maroon’s ghost queen, knows what lies in store for them and she’s not telling…

Black Sails to Sunward by Sheila JennéBlack Sails to Sunward by Sheila Jenné:

In a world of frock coats, solar sails, and rigid class boundaries, Lucy joins the Martian Imperial Navy as a midshipman.

Mars and Earth are at war, and Lucy hopes for quick promotion. But when she arrives aboard ship, she finds harsh officers and a crew on the verge of mutiny. And worse: her former friend, Moira—a commoner and a radical—is a member of the crew.

It’s clear where Lucy’s duty lies. As an officer and a gentlewoman, she has to quell the crew’s rebellion and preserve her ship for the fight against Earth. But soon, she’ll have to make a decision between all she’s been taught to believe and the injustice she can see with her own eyes.

A Book of Blades Vol. II, edited by Matthew John and L.D. WhitneyA Book of Blades, Volume II, edited by Matthew John and L.D. Whitney:

Within this tome are buried the blades of warriors, thieves, and wizards. Tales of their deeds, glories, and triumphs shall ring throughout the ages.

Rogues in the House Podcast has gathered the best tales of Sword & Sorcery from across the community.

Here, brave adventurers will discover tales of daring and adventure, of dark sorcery and bloody combat, all penned by members of the burgeoning Sword & Sorcery Community. Returning authors John R. Fultz, Jason Ray Carney, and Charles Clark are joined by new addtions like J. Thomas Howard, Bryn Hammond, and legendary Kirk A. Johnson. Journey across distant, unremembered lands with these and many more!

Bewitched and Bothered by Amanda M. LeeBewitched and Bothered by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is taking some downtime with her fiancé Galen Blackwood. All she wants to do is bask in their happiness and pretend nothing bad could possibly happen.

This is Moonstone Bay, however. That’s simply not reality.

When Galen gets a call that an old-timer on the island is holding a gun on the guests at a local bar, Hadley accompanies him to the scene…and watches as the unthinkable happens. The man’s death is strange enough, but when news starts to spread that their victim had been carrying on with a woman who was young enough to be his granddaughter, things take an even odder turn.

It seems there’s an unknown power on the island, and this individual is casting the sort of love spells that force unusual couples to start burning—literally—for one another.

Not only are Hadley and Galen hot on the trail of an outside player, but they’re also targets.

Hadley has learned a lot since finding out she’s a witch. This lesson, however, might be too hot to handle.

The union of earth, air, fire, and water has become symbolic on Moonstone Bay. This time the union will lead to a whole new adventure.

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Of Wings and Shadows by Kyoko M.Of Wings and Shadows by Kyoko M.

In a modern-day world teeming with marauding dragons, there is only one solution: The Wild Hunt.

The United States government has decided to hold a tournament called The Wild Hunt to determine who will be responsible for the capture of wild dragons by the Knight Division. The four challengers Noah Wilson, Charlie Howard, Su Jin Han, and Beowulf have to catch five deadly dragons alive if they want to win the tournament and become the new Knight Division dragon hunters. Their journey will take them through the mountains of South Carolina, the seas of Key West, the caverns of Ruby Falls, the Redwood forest, and finally, the murky bayous of Louisiana. Will they succeed against their competition, or will the dragons of the Wild Hunt be too wild to tame?

Of Wings and Shadows is the sixth book in the Of Cinder and Bone series. It takes place in medias res of Book Five, Of Claws and Inferno. It follows Of Cinder and Bone, Of Blood and Ashes, Of Dawn and Embers, and Of Fury and Fang

Vaulting Through Time by Nancy McCabeVaulting Through Time by Nancy McCabe:

Can she perform the vault of her life to save her loved ones—and herself?

Sixteen-year-old gymnast Elizabeth Arlington doesn’t care that her mother is older than the other girls’ moms or that she doesn’t look anything like her parents. She has too much to worry about like her body changing and how all of a sudden the balance beam is not as easy as it used to be. But when she makes a discovery that throws her entire identity into question, she turns to her ex-best friend Zach, who suggests a way for her to find the answers her mother won’t give her: a time machine they found in an abandoned house.

As Elizabeth catapults through time, she encounters a mysterious abandoned child, an elite gymnast preparing for Olympic Trials, and an enigmatic woman who seems to know more than she’s revealing. Then when a thief makes off with an identical time machine, Elizabeth finds herself on a race to stop the thief before the world as she knows it—and her future—are destroyed.

Space Ships and Other Trips by Raven OakSpace Ships and Other Trips by Raven Oak:

Part II of this debut collection by multi-award-winning author and artist Raven Oak brings together speculative fiction stories from the past ten years of her career, ranging from space adventures with a dash of mystery and other near-future tales to post-apocalyptic stories and deep dives into the mind.

You’ll find closed-ship mysteries, foul-acting apps, talking cats, retail hell, and hacked programs in these ELEVEN speculative fiction pieces. Space Ships & Other Trips contains FIVE never-before seen stories for your enjoyment, including a tie-in story from Jeff Sturgeon’s The Last Cities of Earth universe.

STORIES INCLUDED: The Loss of Luna, Hungry, Mouth, Only a Bird, Q-Be, Hands, Ol’ St. Nick, Drip, Level Up, Scout’s Honor, and D.E.A.T.H.

Blue Lancer by Glynn StewartBlue Lancer by Glynn Stewart:

It was just supposed to be a run to the bank…

A superpowered criminal named Cashout just took over the bank Joshua Hammond went to for cash—demanding that the unlicensed super-vigilante called Blue Lancer come out and fight him.
Unfortunately for everyone, Joshua Hammond is the Blue Lancer—and trapped with the rest of the hostages, he can’t do anything.

But if Cashout’s “nemesis” doesn’t come out and fight, people are going to die…

Faraway and Forever by Nancy Joie WilkieFaraway and Forever: More Stories by Nancy Joie Wilkie:

This collection of novelettes takes the reader from the not-to-distant future to a time when travel between worlds is a common occurrence. Each stop along mankind’s journey outward to the stars is accompanied by a deeper look inward–from examining how extraterrestrial beings might use our own biology against us, to whether a human consciousness can survive in a virtual environment, to how wishes are really granted. Original and thought provoking, these stories–which include an interstellar religious thriller involving a second coming of Christ–will stimulate the intellect and engage the imagination.

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