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 August 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, historical fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, gothic romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, hard science fiction, Cyberpunk, dystopian fiction, time travel, horror, fae killers, light elves, cyborgs, blood-sucking debt collectors, interplanetary wineyards, space mages, intergalactic mercenaries, genetically engineered space marines, alien killer viruses, space prisons, prime valkyries, space engineers, star dogs 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:
Unblinking by Kira Carter:
Everyone is watching.
Minka Stanis just wants to be left alone–impossible since the Eyes record and broadcast every moment of her day. Then a humiliating incident in the high school cafeteria makes her the laughingstock of her tower city, and life behind the glass walls becomes unbearable. When the intriguing new boy at school tells her about a place away from the gaze of the cameras, Minka plots her escape from the towers. But the Shuttered Lands are across the desert, and going there will mean leaving everything she’s ever known behind.
Fresh out of tower training, Zedd Fincher is settling into his dream job. When he gets assigned to edit Minka Stanis’s Stream footage, he spins her every misstep into a string of hit clips. As Minka’s fame grows, so do Zedd’s feelings for her. But a crisis at home brings the darker side of his work into focus. And Zedd soon learns editing other people’s lives has consequences.
As Minka is thrust unwillingly into the spotlight and Zedd’s life begins to unravel, only one thing is certain:
The Eyes are always watching.
Water into Wine by Joyce Chng:
When war comes to your planet, everything changes.. perhaps even the meaning of family and identity.
Xin inherits a vineyard on a distant planet, and moves there to build a life… but an interstellar war intervenes. Will Xin’s dreams of a new life get caught in the crossfire? Xin’s understanding of family and sense of self must evolve to cope with the changes brought by life on a new planet and a war that threatens everything.
The Defender of Rebel Falls by Eric Christensen:
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but William Whitehall knows which one feels better in his hand. As a librarian—a reluctant one—his reports catch the eyes of a powerful nobleman, who selects William for an important mission. As he faces danger after danger, he soon realizes that having the right weapon is one thing, but having the wits to use it is quite another. Because when he faces his ultimate challenge, it’s more than just his own life at stake.
Winter Rose by Ginny Clyde:
The Gerrickson House is waking up from its days of mourning. Lenara Gerrickson’s fifteenth name day is fast approaching and her old childhood friend, Lady Vivienne Schmidtson arrives to help her get ready for the occasion. To her horror, Lenara has forgotten her manners and etiquettes, indulging in pastimes like riding and archery.
Lenara is skeptical of finding love during the ball on her fifteenth name day, but she catches the gaze of a dark, handsome man who sweeps her off her feet into a whirlwind romance. Her happily ever after seems so close, but clouds of doubt and warnings hang heavy in the horizon.
Follow Lenara’s journey into womanhood as she faces the harshness of reality and discover the chain of events that changed her destiny forever.
Enjoy this prequel novella to the captivating and thrilling Gothic fantasy, The Rose Chronicles. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or be read in between any of the books.
Rika Outcast by M.D. Cooper:
In the Age of the Orion War…
Rika is mech-meat, a cyborg killing machine, created by the Genevian military and cast aside when the war was lost.
Now she slings cargo on Dekar Station, falling deeper in debt as she struggles to make enough money to keep her cybernetic body functioning. The local gangs would love to have her join their ranks, and the takings would pay her bills, but the only thing Rika hates more than what she’s become, is killing for others.
But morals don’t buy repairs and she’s at the point of utter desperation when her loan holder cashes in her debt and sells her to the highest bidder.
When Rika wakes, she’s in a warehouse on a planet she’s never heard of, and a trio of mercenaries are reassembling her body. Their mission is to kill the world’s president, and her mods and abilities are just what they need to get the job done.
Whether she likes it or not, Rika is in the business of killing once more as she joins the ranks of the Marauders.
O Negative by Paul Curtin:
In Cole’s world, a critical shortage has made blood expensive.
Now the ticket to a hefty cash loan is running through anyone’s veins—as long as a person’s willing to put up their blood as collateral. And if the debt defaults, Cole is the man who collects. He kidnaps debtors for his boss to drain—over long, excruciating months—until death. It’s a job he doesn’t mind until his boss asks him to pick up a guy with the rare and valuable blood type, O negative.
Except the guy doesn’t have O negative—his ten-year-old daughter, Sam, does.
Knowing the horrors waiting for her if he hands her over to his boss, Cole takes Sam and goes on the run. With corrupt cops on his boss’s payroll patrolling the streets, a psychotic colleague hunting him, and a savvy detective on his trail, Cole knows this will end one of two ways: he escapes the city or Sam dies a slow, painful death.
Either way, blood will be spilled.
Prime Valkyrie by Michael Scott Earle:
Adam has one mission: Hunt down the Magate Order and recover his kidnapped crew before they are lost forever.
Unfortunately, his life has been bound to the Prime Valkyrie, and if Adam doesn’t submit to her powerful father, he’ll be executed.
But the genetically engineered Marine submits to no man, and the king of the Vaish Overlord Clan is about to find out what happens when you try and kill a tiger.
Or keep him from his women.
Memento Mori by W.R. Gingell:
Even time travellers can run out of time.
Marx and Kez have been skipping through the known Twelve Worlds, keeping one step ahead of certain capture by the seat of their trousers, and the vastness of time and space is feeling a tad too small.
Kez has always been a bit crazy, but now it’s Marx who is getting mad. Someone is trying to kill them, and that’s the sort of thing he takes personally.
To add to their difficulties, there are Fixed Points in time that are beginning to look a little less…fixed.
Between Time Corp, WAOF, Uncle Cheng, and the Lolly Men, it’s beginning to look like there’s nowhere safe in the known Twelve Worlds for Kez and Marx.
Here be monsters…
Soul Marked by C. Gockel:
Magic is real, but Tara’s life isn’t a fairy tale.
From humble beginnings, Tara’s managed to work her way into a great job researching Dark Energy, aka “magic,” in Chicago. She has a beautiful house she renovated with her own hands, and a loving extended family, but she hasn’t found her soulmate … Not that she believes in soulmates.
Lionel is a Light Elf. Despite being of dubious heritage and being born a peasant, he’s risen in the ranks to serve the Elf Queen. Like all true elves, Lionel has a soulmark to identify his soulmate … He just hasn’t found her yet.
When Lionel’s and Tara’s lives collide and Dark Elves strike, they’re forced to work together or perish. Friendship and more grows between them, but dangers loom … Tara is more important than she knows, and Lionel is more important than he wants to admit. Both of them have choices to make.
Will Lionel choose a “perfect” love over Tara? How much is Tara willing to give up for a happily ever after?
They might find that in an uncertain world, the love you struggle for is the only certain thing.
Black Dawn by K. Gorman:
Humanity is under attack and she is the only one who can stop it.
For Karin Makos, the chance to pilot a small-time scrounging vessel to remote corners of space is the dream. After years on the run with her sister and enduring the constant paranoia of living planet-side, going off-radar gives her exactly what she wants: freedom.
After what seems like a routine mission, that dream is shattered.
A system-wide attack decimates humanity and leaves the survivors scraping for clues. And Karin might know where to look.
But digging into her past comes with a whole new set of secrets and consequences, none of which she wants to face. Plagued by strange dreams of her sister and a sense of growing danger, Karin and the crew of the Nemina must race desperately across space to find their loved ones—and answers.
Synthesis by Kyle Harris:
Sometimes violence is the answer.
Trident was mankind’s greatest discovery. A blue-and-green planet teeming with ocean life and breathable air, it was the solution to all of our problems. A new world and a clean slate–we wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
Don’t believe the lies.
Separated from her family, Synthia Garland is just trying to survive in the slums of Crystal City, Trident’s single metropolis home to beggars and throat-cutting gangs. Until the wrong detour results in a knife to her throat and final thoughts–before a hooded figure saves her life. With street-smart skills and a knack for getting out of trouble, Chaz is everything Synthia isn’t, and the two quickly become friends. But Chaz’s penchant for thievery takes a terrible turn when Synthia is nearly killed.
With her body mutilated and now reliant on cybernetic parts, Synthia wakes up to find herself in the care of the mega corporation she was trying to steal from–including its cold, secretive CEO. And there’s more news: her sister is on the verge of death from a flesh-eating virus. And time is running out.
Synthia must embark on a mission to return her sister to the only doctor who can save her life. With the misfit Chaz riding shotgun, she’ll face bloodthirsty pirates, malicious gangs, and a corrupt capitalistic society where pro-human activists and robotics companies are on the brink of all-out war.
Luckily, she’s been programmed to kick ass.
Mass Hysteria by Michael Patrick Hicks:
It came from space…
Something virulent. Something evil. Something new. And it is infecting the town of Falls Breath.
Carried to Earth in a freak meteor shower, an alien virus has infected the animals. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid, attacking without warning. Dogs and cats terrorize their owners, while deer and wolves from the neighboring woods hunt in packs, stalking and killing their human prey without mercy.
As the town comes under siege, Lauren searches for her boyfriend, while her policeman father fights to restore some semblance of order against a threat unlike anything he has seen before. The Natural Order has been upended completely, and nowhere is safe.
…and it is spreading.
Soon, the city will find itself in the grips of mass hysteria.
To survive, humanity will have to fight tooth and nail.
Observation by Patty Jansen:
Space biologists Jonathan Bartell and Gaby Larsen arrive at Johnson Base at the Moon’s south pole for a project with Professor Isaacs that is so secret, he cannot share the details with them. However, the professor does not show up to meet them.
Vijay Singh borrowed money from a local council man who uses the debt to make continued threats to Vijay. In his despair to pay it back, Vijay gets involved with one of the most lucrative crime schemes in the solar system.
However, the capsule he retrieves from a crater near Johnson Base contains more than smuggled rare elements. But no one is going to talk about it for fear of getting on the wrong side of the crime lords. Even if keeping the secret will endanger the entire base.
This will appeal to readers of realistic adventure science fiction, like Robert Sawyer and Stephen Baxter. The books in this series can be read in any order.
The Dauntless by Alex Kings:
An alien fugitive carrying a secret. A mob of relentless assassins sent to stop her. A million-year-old ship from a dead civilisation.
Captain James Hanson of the Solar Alliance Vessel Dauntless knows he has to help. But soon he finds the conspiracy goes deeper than he ever imagined. Hunted down by his own government, he scrapes together a ragtag team and goes hunting for the truth.
He’s hounded on every side – from the authorities, from alien warriors, from mysterious, faceless soldiers. From the criminal backwaters of the galaxy to idyllic colonies hiding dark pasts, he uncovers a threat to the entire galaxy. A damaged, renegade ship and its unlikely crew of fugitives, mercenaries, and principled officers is all that stands between mankind and its destruction.
Zakota by Ruby Lionsdrake:
Katie Saunders isn’t used to sitting on her butt, but she’s been stuck doing exactly that as the Star Guardians fly all over the galaxy, trying to get her and the other kidnapped women back home. Now it looks like they have to engage in a battle against evil aliens before making the final flight to Earth. Since they’ve captured an extra ship and are short on pilots, Katie wants to help.
She flew jets during her time in the Navy, and she’s been training on the spaceship’s flight simulator, so she knows she can be useful. Because the captain won’t listen to her, she turns her focus onto the ship’s helm officer, Zakota. He’s an odd man who apparently believes he’s a shaman, but maybe she can convince him she can fly.
Wheeling and dealing with Zakota reveals a couple of unexpected things. First off, he’s super hot under that uniform, and second, he’s not quite as kooky as she thought. As a fellow pilot, he gets her, far better than she expected anyone out here would, and he’s quick to see her worth in the cockpit.
The problem? There’s not time for them to get to know each other better or much of anything else. They’re headed into a battle against a superior foe with superior numbers, and the odds are against them making it out alive.
The Gemini Hustle: Two Guys Walk Into a Bar by Kathleen McClure and L. Gene Brown:
Two guys walk into a bar…
Everyone knows the joke, but no one is laughing when Zodiac operative Ray Slater’s manhunt collides with fellow agent Harry Finn’s covert op.
Outnumbered and outgunned, the pair form an uneasy partnership, one that takes them from the depths of Ócala’s understreets to the pinnacle of its pleasure palaces, and straight into the heart of an interstellar crime syndicate.
Here, Ray and Harry become entangled with two of the syndicate’s key players, women gifted with psionic abilities—and burdened by secrets—who will change both men’s lives, forever.
Assuming, that is, they can survive the night.
Ember of War by Stephan Morse:
Warning: Contains Crude Language, Alien Blasting, and Sex.
Lee’s too wild for the military, but too good at his job to get rid of. The government’s solution is to banish him to the outer planets until he’s deemed civilized. His latest attempt at rehabilitation has him signed on with an outpost colony.
He hates ranching. He hates taking orders from his boss. But he likes shooting aliens. Luckily, the planet he’s on is about to face a full blown infestation.
Tiff in Time by Jaxon Reed:
In the beginning, God created people, angels, and fae. Creatures existing between the spiritual realm and the physical, fae scattered among parallel worlds spreading magic and chaos.
The Walker hunts fae, killing them, bringing them to justice. On occasion, he recruits followers. He found Tiff, an orphan, and raised her to be one of his best hunters. A skilled killer, she jumps into any timeline on any alternate, and seeks her prey.
A powerful artifact and a mysterious fae crop up in the Roaring Twenties, in Chicago. Tiff is on her way. But this time, after centuries of being hunted, the fae have other plans…
Into the Void by Kellie Sheridan:
Her legacy was built on lies, but uncovering the truth will put everyone she cares about in danger.
Evie was never interested in being part of SolTek Industries, content to enjoy the perks of her family’s legacy without any of the responsibility. But when her brother, a party boy with no tech skills whatsoever, starts claiming he’s about to reveal the next big thing, an invention of his own design, Evie can no longer deny that something is wrong.
Everyone in Evie’s family has been lying to her, and she intends to find out why. With a pocket full of credits and a set of coordinates she lifted from her brother, Evie sets off in hopes of finding what her family is trying to keep hidden. When those coordinates turn out to lead to deep space, though, she knows she can’t get there alone.
She’s going to need a ship.
Oliver Briggs is high on ambition but short on credits. Having spent his entire life’s savings to hire his dream crew, he risks losing them all if they don’t start bringing in some real money–fast. When the daughter of a tech magnate shows up looking for an inexplicable ride to the outer reaches of the system, offering a payday too lucrative to resist, he can’t help but accept.
But taking her offer may mean losing his crew after all.
The secrets uncovered by the crew of the Lexiconis could change the future course humanity’s future. The only question is if they’ll survive long enough to do anything about it.
Provoked by Izzy Shows:
You thought you’d uncovered the secrets of the universe. But you never found me.
The humans crossed the stars, traveling farther than any before, all to terraform a planet long thought dead. They destroyed their world, and now they need mine.
They found me buried in the core of my planet, but when they set me free they also unleashed a dark force more powerful than any before—my twin. Possessed by the god of death, no guns can hope to battle his magic.
I couldn’t stop him from destroying my world before, but I’ll die before I let him take another people from me.
Many things have changed since I ruled. But death…death never changes.
Terra and Imperium by Glynn Stewart:
Secrets both ancient and new.
Powers great and greater—
With Terra caught in the middle
Humanity’s first colony is a project neither the Duchy of Terra nor the A!Tol Imperium can allow to fail. The planet Hope in the Alpha Centauri system has been lavished with resources and attention—but when an unknown alien force attacks the system, all of that is in danger.
An ancient alien artifact is the apparent target of the attack, an artifact older than known galactic civilization. Suddenly, the backwater colony of a second-rate power is the gathering point for a confrontation of the galaxy’s greatest powers.
Duchess Annette Bond might be pregnant. She might be five light years away. She might have another galactic power on her doorstep demanding she surrender their rebels who’ve settled on Earth.
But she speaks for both Terra and the Imperium—and the galaxy will listen.
Perfect Strangers by Jan Stryvant:
During his junior year in college, Sean finds himself suddenly dropped into the middle of a world that he didn’t even know existed. A secret world of magic and magic users, lycanthropes, goblins, and all the other things that go bump in the night. To make matters even more difficult, the very same magic users who had Sean’s father killed now believe that Sean will somehow inherit his father’s work when he turns twenty-one, which is just a few days away.
Needless to say most of the magic users’ councils seem to be in two camps: The first camp wants him dead. The second camp wants him captured and then will probably kill him after they’ve learned all of his secrets. The only solution Sean sees to any of this is to finish his father’s work, the very thing that got his father killed. But in order to do that, Sean must first find out just what his father was working on! He’s also going to need to learn magic himself, find a safe place to stay, raise some money, and gain a lot of allies.
Fortunately for Sean he’s got two good women at his side: Roxy, a cheetah lycanthrope with a lot of experience in fighting; and Jolene, a tantric witch with more than a few connections in the supernatural black market.
Clouds of Venus by Jeff Tanyard:
Dale Kinmont is a college student in post-catastrophe America. He’s lucky; he lives in one of the walled cities for the nation’s elite, and life is pleasant. He expects to graduate and find employment in his uncle’s company.
Everything changes when he’s framed for murder. He’s tried, convicted, and sentenced to hard labor in the prison colony on Mercury.
He ends up in Hesperus instead, a flying city that soars eternally through the acidic skies of Venus. His goal now is to find a way to clear his name and return to Earth before Hesperus erupts in civil war. He also must battle the harsh realities of the planet itself. Because if the Hesperans don’t kill him, Venus probably will.
City of Magic by Patricia Thomas:
Where do your favorite characters go after their stories are over?
The last thing Kadie remembers is getting dumped by the man she thought was the love of her life. Then, without warning, she finds herself somewhere impossible, surrounded by everything from magical kingdoms to futuristic cities and quiet suburban towns.
Her life before was merely fiction; this is where her story really begins.
The After is a world beyond imagining, existing for unfulfilled book characters who have reached the end of their stories. But not everyone in the After is happy with the status quo.
When Kadie arrives, her situation escalates from strange to deadly. Those in power are willing to play dirty in order to keep their secrets hidden. This time around, Kadie will have the chance to write her own future. But happily ever after isn’t going to come without a fight.
Mimic and the Space Engineer by James David Victor:
An aspiring space engineer, a shape-shifting alien, and the race to save an unknown alien race.
A new story from #1 Best Selling author James David Victor
Higgens has the best job in the galaxy. Except for the fact that he’s technically a janitor on a galactic mining vessel. When he discovers an unknown alien species, his world gets turned upside down. He will have to find unlikely allies if he is going to save his new friend and start the journey home.
Mimic and the Space Engineer is the first book in the Space Shifter Chronicles. If you like fast paced space adventures with engaging, and quirky, characters, you will love Higgens, Mimic, and their adventures in space.
Star Dog Liberation by Lucas C. Wheeler:
Star Dog and Clancy have spent months hiding in an abandoned apartment, and tensions and paranoia are beginning to rise. A threat still looms on the horizon, and it’s searching for Star Dog. She’s about to find him.
There’s a new German shepherd on the streets of Prism City, and the news can’t stop covering all her criminal endeavors – except they identified the culprit as Star Dog.
Whatever vendetta she feels compelled to settle against Star Dog, when she targets someone close to home, Star Dog feels he has to act. He vows to bring an end to the Star Dog technology, once and for all. No matter what it takes, or what it costs.