Masks and Magic – A Round-up of Indie Mardi Speculative Fiction

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Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Mardi Gras speculative fiction by indie authors.

These Mardi Gras stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have a lot of urban fantasy, horror and paranormal mysteries, but also historical fantasy, dark fantasy, religious fantasy and even science fiction. There are angels, demons, Lucifer himself, dragons, ghosts, ghost whisperers, vampires, monsters, zombies, voodoo, cursed doubloons, human sacrifices, space cruises, precognition and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Mardi Gras.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog 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:

Southern Monsters by Cora BuhlertSouthern Monsters by Cora Buhlert

Three tales of monsters and terror in the Louisiana bayous.

When a young bride goes missing on her wedding day in Acadiana, the locals blame the Terror, the legendary monster that stalks the Crimson Bayou.
Remy Theriault does not believe in the Terror and he’s pretty sure the bride has done a runner. But the groom is his cousin and family is family. So Remy goes out to look for the runaway bride, only to find that sometimes, the old legends are true…

When their car crashes into the bayou on a dark Louisiana night, the swamp creature known only as Big Puffball might just be one family’s salvation…

When fishing boats go missing on the Mississippi River Delta, few people link these disappearances to the mysterious light that lit up the Louisiana sky only weeks before. But an astronomer from Tulane University makes the connection and discovers the horror that is the sphere that ate the Mississippi delta.

This is a collection of three short horror stories of 7700 words or approximately 27 print pages altogether.

Krewe of Souls by Elaine CallowayKrewe of Souls by Elaine Calloway:

Mardi Gras, Mayhem, and Murder…

Tristan Pleasance is a ghost whisperer extraordinaire, but talking to his living father is another story. Family conflict prompts Tristan to bolt from his lifelong home in St. Francisville, Louisiana, to make a new life in New Orleans. But six months later, a family tragedy forces him to return home and he is thrust into a murder investigation where his past and future will collide.

Grace Lansing is a New Orleans columnist who yearns to write feature articles rather than puff pieces. To prove herself to her editor, she travels to the quaint town of St. Francisville to research their big Mardi Gras Krewe competition. But what seems an innocent cultural practice quickly turns into a web of intrigue—and getting too close to the handsome Tristan puts her in danger of becoming collateral damage.

Together, Tristan and Grace must find out who is responsible for the murders—before the Krewe of Souls is trapped forever.

Mardi Gras Maiden by Michael Dreysher Sr.Mardi Gras Maiden by Michael Dreysher Sr.

New Orleans 1854: A young woman, driven by curiosity sneaks into a brothel and stumbles into a Mardi Gras masquerade. She discovers that the ball is in reality an erotic ritual paying homage to Lucifer, the Great Prince of Evil and she is the guest of honor. The Archangel Gabriel sends four warriors from a dying world to rescue her but they arrive too late; the cult has slaughtered the girl, offering her as a sacrifice to Lucifer.

Rural Pennsylvania 1954: The same cult takes control of an entire town when their High Priestess seduces the land baron who owns it. They engineer a series of extramarital affairs among the residents which culminates in ritual debauchery. Gabriel has his avengers return to Earth with orders to wipe out the cult but Heaven has a dark side. A rogue spirit with an agenda of its own plans to kill these out-world warriors and the archangel’s champions find themselves defenseless in the center of a titanic struggle between two opposing forces from the Kingdom of Heaven.

Carnival in Sorgenbach by Raymund EichCarnival in Sorgenbach by Raymund Eich:

Hans returned from the Great War, haunted. Not only by the horrors of the trenches, but haunted by visions of a more terrifying war to come. Would the parties and parades of Carnival 1919 offer him love and hope? Or doom him and his country to the devastation he foresaw?

 

 

 

Death Dealer by Graylin FoxDeath Dealer by Graylin Fox:

My name is Cimmerian. I’m a dragon shifter living in New Orleans. Someone is screwing up my pre-Mardi Gras plans by leaving mutilated human bodies all over town. I have to find out whether or not a demon is behind this. If so, are they building a human to animate with demon magic? If not, we have a human serial killer just in time for the town to flood with tourists.

Things were so much quieter on vacation.

Damn, I’m glad to be back at work.

Voodoo Dreams by Alana LorensVoodoo Dreams by Alana Lorens:

When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious–but handsome–lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her–especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?

Battlefield Z: Mardi Gras Zombies by Chris LowryBattlefield Z: Mardi Gras Zombies by Chris Lowry:

He found them!

Two of his three children are alive and now that he’s found them he won’t let them out of his sight.

It’s time to find his youngest daughter.

The last he knew she was heading to a refugee camp with her Mom and step-dad. He’s got a map of the camps back at Fort Jasper waiting.

All he has to do is keep his kids safe as they search for answers and a trip back to Alabama. The safest route floats them down the river. It keeps the Z at bay, but delivers them straight into a fortress that feels like paradise.

He has a choice. Hide behind the walls with two thirds of his heart and let the world burn or take a chance and continue the hunt.

An easy job if it weren’t for all the damn zombies.

The Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardi GrasThe Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardi Gras by E. Miguel:

Space, there is a lot of it. Like really, a lot. As much space as there is though, it also happens to be very crowded. It is for this exact reason the Outer-Universe Cruise Ship Mardis Gras was created. While other cruises throughout the universe offer excitement and adventure, the Mardis Gras offers the mundane for those vacationers that are allergic to such excitement and adventure. The ship’s only constant inconstant is a Mardis Gras party held every other day.

Unfortunately for two passengers on the ship, this week’s cruise offers more than they signed up for. Escape pods, a slumbering Old God, and a Voodoo priestess robot all happen to show up on the unplanned itinerary this week.

Nocturne by Irene Preston and Liv RancourtNocturne by Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt

It’s Mardi Gras, cher, but this year le bon temps kick off with murder…

For generations, the White Monks have treated the vampire Thaddeus Dupont as a weapon in their battle against demons. However, when a prominent matron drops dead at a party, Thaddeus and his lover Sarasija are asked to find her killer. Their investigation leads them to an old southern family with connections everywhere: Louisiana politics, big business, the Church, and an organization just as secret as the White Monks.

Meanwhile, an esoteric text containing spells for demon-summoning has disappeared, Thaddeus is losing control of le monstre, and Sara is troubled by disturbing dreams. These nightmares could be a side-effect of dating a vampire, or they could be a remnant of his brush with evil. As the nights wear on, Sara fears they are a manifestation of something darker – a secret that could destroy his relationship with Thaddeus.

Krewe of Hecate by Sim ShattuckKrewe of Hecate by Sim Shattuck:

A group of Mardi Gras wizards descend to the Underworld and capture the goddess Hecate so that they can display her during Carnival. But they didn’t understand that having the goddess of the Uncanny upon the face of the Earth would do to three unlucky New Orleans residents.

 

 

 

Burgundy Doubloons by T.J. Spencer JacquesBurgundy Doubloons by T.J. Spencer Jacques:

You caught a doubloon at a Mardi Gras Parade – that was a bad thing.

Trent McGowan is going home. Home to his ailing mother. Home to the city of his childhood. Home to New Orleans. As Trent deals with the peculiar circumstances surrounding his mother’s illness, his family gets swept up in the excitement of Mardi Gras and all of the festivities of that intoxicating day. The jubilant crowds, breathtaking carnival floats, and oh yes, the throws! His youngest daughter Zoe catches one of those throws, a sparkling red doubloon, and that is where the story ends and begins.
Burgundy Doubloons is more than just a suspense thriller, it is everything that makes New Orleans the party capital of the world: only bloodier and darker.

For those who love a parade, Burgundy Doubloon answers a terrifying question: What if your child simultaneously caught a bead, and a murderous spirit? In this heart-palpating novel, you will meet the entire McGowan family, and the people determined to destroy them.

Finally, a paranormal thriller that takes place in New Orleans – as told by a native son who knows where the bodies are buried.

Razor Valentine by Roland YeomansRazor Valentine by Roland Yeomans:

MARDI GRAS … MAGIC … MURDER

In 1947 New Orleans THREE KINGS DAY marks the start of the official Carnival Season. Carnival, coming from the Latin words, carne vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh.”

Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, Our Lady of Holy Death, is stalking the French Quarter streets killing apparently at random. What does the psychotic actress, Irene Dupré, know of this entity and what lies behind the murders? She remains silent, only smiling. Santa Muerte’s strange acolyte lurks in the shadows watching, waiting. Waiting for what?

Frank Capra is filming a historical fantasy in the city with Jimmy Stewart, Cesar Romero, and the enigmatic Irene Dupré. Former O.S.S. operative, now the film’s Prop Master, Lucas, finds himself in the middle of the mystery with more questions than answers.

His lost love back from the dead, Ingrid Durtz, and his best friend, Mitchell Mack, are at a loss on how to stay alive, much less catch a supernatural killer.

Then, there is Lucas’ former O.S.S. team mate, Father Darael, whose gift of a Seraph Blade is literally a two-edged blessing. You see, Darael is a Seraphim Provocateur. And Lucas is unsure whose side he is really on, the Celestial or the Fallen?

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for February 2019

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 authors newly published this month, though some January 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, funny fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, science fiction romance, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, horror, steampunk, hopepunk (yes, I’m using that term. Get over it), satire, witches, wizards, ghosts, valkyries, goblins, dark lords, assassins, prison breaks, outcast marines, space pirates, superheroes, space battles, undead slaves, the second coming 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:

War Begins by Odette C. BellWar Begins by Odette C. Bell:

Diana had a troubled past. The kind where her family were brutally murdered right in front of her eyes. It’s changed the course of her future – but it will change more. An ancient race left a gift inside her mind, and it is time for it to rise.

Sampson is a psychic soldier – one of the Coalition’s best. When he’s sent to the Academy to spy on students, he has no clue he’ll be drawn toward Diana and into the final fight for the Milky Way.

War Begins is a four-part action adventure space opera sure to please fans of Odette C. Bell’s Axira. This series is complete, and all four books are currently available.

The Valley of the Man Vultures by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Valley of the Man Vultures by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert

On his way to Krysh, a city of fabled riches, the sellsword Thurvok must first pass through the Valley of the Accursed Blood.

Traditionally, those travelling to Krysh make offerings at the temple at the entrance of the valley in exchange for protection on their journey. But Thurvok scoffs at such superstition and decides to continue his journey without any divine protection. His refusal to make an offering infuriates the temple priest Alberon who promptly curses Thurvok.

Thurvok is not much bothered by this – he does not believe in curses. However, the valley holds dangers that don’t particularly care whether Thurvok believes in them or not.

This is a short story of 4400 words or 15 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

The Tomb of the Undead Slaves by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Tomb of the Undead Slaves by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert

The sellsword Thurvok and his friend and companion Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, venture into the Rusted Desert to seek the tomb of the ancient king Chagurdai and the legendary treasure supposedly hidden there.

But once Thurvok and Meldom venture into the tomb, they find that a treasure is not all that’s buried there.

This is a short story of 4100 words or 13 print pages in the Tales of Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

The Road of Skeletons by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Road of Skeletons by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert

On their way to the northern city of Khon Orzad, Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friend Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, travel along a road lined with the skeletons of executed heretics.

It’s a grim path that becomes even grimmer when Thurvok and Meldom come upon a blindfolded woman who is still very much alive tied to a stake by the side of the road.

Should they continue their journey or rescue the woman and risk the wrath of the priest kings of Khon Orzad…

This is a short story of 5500 words or 20 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Insight by Teyla BrantonInsight by Teyla Branton:

Welcome to the CORE: Commonwealth Objective for Reform and Efficiency

Detective Reese Parker is a survivor. Having left behind a violent past in Welfare Colony 6, she is now a sketch artist and detective with the New York Enforcer Division. Her entire focus is maintaining peace and order among the CORE’s remaining two million residents, to make certain their society never faces another economic and nuclear Breakdown.
She must also keep her secret. Because she never wants to be sent back to Colony 6.

With constant Teev surveillance and rigid control in the CORE’s most heavily populated state, Reese’s job mostly consists of tracing small-time juke pushers or sending rebellious students to reconditioning. She doesn’t have to face demented fringers that encroach upon the Core like her counterparts in Dallastar do, or patrol the northern borders where radiation-crazed animals attack unwary travelers. She’s content with being the most accurate sketch artist in the CORE.
But when one of her sketches puts her up against a human monster bigger than anything else that threatens the CORE, it’s a fight she might not survive.

Collision: Stories by J.S. BreukelaarCollision: Stories by J.S. Breukelaar:

A collection of twelve of J.S. Breukelaar’s darkest, finest stories with four new works, including the uncanny new novella “Ripples on a Blank Shore.” Introduction by award-winning author, Angela Slatter. Relish the gothic strangeness of “Union Falls,” the alien horror of “Rogues Bay 3013,” the heartbreaking dystopia of “Glow,” the weird mythos of “Ava Rune,” and others. This collection from the author of American Monster and the internationally acclaimed and Aurealis Award finalist, Aletheia, announces a new and powerful voice in fantastical fiction.

Assassin's Bond by Lindsay BurokerAssassin’s Bond by Lindsay Buroker:

Yanko and his friends must escape a Turgonian prison and find passage back home before their enemies claim an advantage that could change the world. And not for the good of the Nurian people.

But even more trouble awaits at home. Civil war has broken out, Yanko’s family is in danger, and the man who sent him on his mission has disappeared.

If Yanko can’t find Prince Zirabo, he’ll forever remain a criminal and be hunted down by his own people. Worse, his only chance to survive and redeem his honor may be to rely on the one person who’s been trying to kill him since his adventure began.

Quill Me Now by Jordan Castillo PriceQuill Me Now by Jordan Castillo Price:

What if the words you wrote came true?

Spellcraft isn’t exactly a respectable business, but it does pay the bills. At least, it should. Unfortunately, Dixon Penn failed his Spellcraft initiation. Instead of working in his family’s shop, he’s stuck delivering takeout orders in his uncle’s beat-up Buick.

Winning a Valentine’s Day contest at the largest greeting card company in the tri-state area would be just the thing to get his life back on track—but something at Precious Greetings just doesn’t add up. And despite numerous warnings to quit pestering them about his contest entry, he simply can’t stop himself from coming back again and again.

It doesn’t hurt that the head of security is such a hottie. If Dixon had any common sense, he’d be scared of the big, mysterious, tattooed Russian.

To be fair, no one ever accused him of being too smart….

Unleashed Valkyrie by Stacy ClaflinUnleashed Valkyrie by Stacy Claflin:

When two worlds collide, who will remain standing?

Soleil wants nothing more than to live with her family, free from the rules governing her kind. But with Valhalla on the brink of civil war, even retired valkyries are called back to service. Even though she’s a master at skirting the rules, there’s no avoiding her destiny this time. Especially since she’s accidentally volunteered to lead Valhalla’s opposition on Earth—and with two of her least favorite valkyries, no less.

As though a war with traditional valkyries isn’t enough, there’s been a resurgence of hunters. Even the help of the supernaturals on Earth may not be enough to assure victory. Not when she’s fighting a war on two fronts. There’s one supernatural who might be strong enough to turn the tide, but she’d never ask. She’s also not strong enough to keep him from entering the fray.

The fate of two worlds hang in the balance. Soleil wants nothing more than to flee with her family, but she’s honor-bound to stay and fight. The question is, how will the war end? With her people free? With two worlds destroyed? Or will she even survive to witness the outcome?

Murder in Downfell Manor by E.M. CooperMurder in Downfell Manor by E.M. Cooper:

Eleanor Blakely hails from a long line of talented witches, yet after failing to graduate from the Fanglewick School of Magic her prospects look grim. An apprenticeship at the Wandermere Observatory in the Department of Astronomical Predictions offers her a second chance to gain registration as a magic practitioner, but after falling asleep on the job, missing the planetary alignment in the newly discovered Merlin constellation and mistaking a dragon weyr flying over Wandermere for the Cazilla comet shower, she’s booted out. In the Old World, a magically unlicensed adult witch sits just above humans and troublesome teenage goblins on the scale of social worthiness, well below the most ordinary elves, witches and wizards. Unable to practise magic and in her mid-twenties, Eleanor endures work as a transfer officer, supervising humans on the wards of Silverwing Hospital. Her team transports witches and wizards suffering a fatal affliction, known as magic madness or magdolor, to St Blightus, an asylum in the south. In the midst of a transfer, a murder changes everything, forcing her to flee across dimensions to Earth with an amnesiac wizard. Pursued by ruthless elves, she takes refuge in Downfell Manor, where her grandmother, Lucinda and her strange cat, Bella reside. Murder and mayhem follow Eleanor and Artemis, their paths inevitably crossing those of a non-magical wizard, Detective Finley Quiveridge.

The Dark Lord Bert by Chris FoxThe Dark Lord Bert by Chris Fox:

How does a 1-hit-point goblin become the Dark Lord?

By accident. Bert is a tiny goblin with big dreams. He follows adventurers, and loots the copper they leave behind when they take the real loot. One day, Bert hopes, he’ll have enough copper to buy a warg, and finally promote from a 1-HP critter to a Warg Rider.

Kit is a typical gamer hoping to enjoy a good story, but her friends are more interested in rules, loot and experience. Kit’s friends Crotchshot, Brakestuff, and the White Necromancer rampage their way across the land desperately seeking the Dark Lord trope, which gives the wielder the power to reshape the world.

When Bert accidentally steals the trope, Kit is forced to make a choice. Should she help her friends, or help a new Dark Lord rise to power?

The world will never be the same. Get ready for The Dark Lord Bert.

Emerald Fire by Donna Maree HansonEmerald Fire by Donna Maree Hanson:

A book of manners, magic and mayhem

After Edward and Jemima’s honeymoon is cut short by a severed head landing in their marriage bed, they must away to London to devise a way to defeat the ravenous beast, Geneck and Jemima must be the bait.

Newspaper headlines reveal carnage in London streets and the police and the secret brotherhood of magicians are pounding at the door, demanding answers from Edward.

Joined by Fulton, Edward and Jemima begin to scour the dark places of London: sewers and newly-constructed underground railway tunnels. Their only chance is to find Geneck’s lair and end him in daylight, when he is weak. But the monster’s minions protect him and the road to safety is not clear.

When Jemima is taken, Edward is beside himself. Who has taken her and how is he going to get her back? Deeper into magic he must go, and Milly and Aunt Prudence join in the fight to rid the world of Geneck. But will that be enough?

Replication by Kevin HardmanReplication by Kevin Hardman:

Having saved the distant world of Caeles and its interstellar empire – not to mention the life of its ruler, Queen Dornoccia – Jim (aka Kid Sensation), returns to Earth with two notable prizes. The first is his long-missing grandmother, the alien princess Indigo. The other is Queen Dornoccia’s great-great-granddaughter, Myshtal, who is a princess in her own right and a budding superhero. And thanks to the machinations of the queen, she’s also Jim’s titular fiancée, a fact that puts something of a damper on Jim’s relationship with his girlfriend, Electra. It also doesn’t help that Myshtal is breathtakingly beautiful, personable, and witty – and lives under the same roof as Jim.

As if his life wasn’t complicated enough, Jim suddenly finds his world invaded by a doppelganger – an unknown individual who looks so much like him that he is even able to fool those in Jim’s inner circle. Even more disturbing, he also mimics Jim’s incredible slate of super powers.

Framed for crimes he didn’t commit, Jim is forced to seek out his lookalike in order to prove his innocence. However, as the depth of his double’s malevolent plans are revealed, Jim realizes that there is far more at stake than simply clearing his name. Now Jim faces the formidable task of attempting to stop an adversary who not only looks and thinks as he does, but also seems to match him power for power.

Fahrenheit's Ghost by Trish HeinrichFahrenheit’s Ghost by Trish Heinrich:

A weapon of mass destruction in the whisper of a child

When a savage crime boss attacks her family, Colleen vows to do whatever it takes to protect them. Even if it means stealing a superpowered person from a sadistic millionaire.

A top government agent, Karen has lied and killed in the name of justice. Kidnapping, then, isn’t a stretch. Especially if it’s someone who threatens the country she’s vowed to protect.

But when Colleen and Karen discover that the person they’ve been sent to capture is a child, they find themselves on the run from ruthless men who will stop at nothing to control the horrifying powers within the innocent girl.

Fahrenheit’s Ghost is the first, thrilling book in the new superhero series, The Vigilantes: The Pandora Project. If you like powerful heroes, nonstop action and a touch of romance then you’ll love this superpowered story.

The Ghost Who Says I Do by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost Who Says I Do by Bobbi Holmes:

A Valentine’s Day Wedding at Marlow House?

Love is in the air—along with secrets—some are deadlier than others.

Will secrets from Clint Marlow’s past come back to haunt Walt and Danielle?

 

 

Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia JaymesGhoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:

It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.

Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.

And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.

Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.

The Spoils of War by Ethan JohnsonThe Spoils of War by Ethan Johnson:

Be careful what you search for…

After a successful tactical strike against The Thirteen, Ana Lode searches the city for her fellow rookie officer Sloan, who languishes in a secret detention facility.

This causes friction between Ana and the mysterious Klark, who insists on her undivided attention in the struggle to free the city from the iron grip of The Thirteen.

When Diane Pembrook leads a strike team to their remote hideout, Ana is forced to choose between her loyalty to Klark and her vow to save Sloan. What — and who — is she willing to sacrifice in the name of justice?

For the Love of Cupidity by Raven KennedyFor the Love of Cupidity by Raven Kennedy:

First comes love, then comes mating, then comes the baby and some cupid training.

Cupidville is overrun with new cupid recruits, and it’s up to me to train them in time for Valentine’s Day. Too bad I have four mates who keep insisting that it’s time for me to take a break.

Juggling my role as the cupid boss, being a mate, and handling motherhood isn’t always easy, but it’s sure as hearts worth it. Let’s just hope I can get these cupid flunkies trained in time.

Author’s Note: This is a Heart Hassle novella just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Love Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. MiersLove Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. Miers:

A valentines day charity anthology featuring 8 exclusive stories from your favorite bestselling Paranormal and Fantasy romance authors! All proceeds will be donated to Room to Read!

How to Capture a Demon’s Heart – Graceley Knox & D.D. Miers
A Demon’s Plaything (The Elite Guards) – Amelia Hutchins
Deep Blue Sea – Pippa DaCosta
The Hellhound’s Legion: A Kit Davenport Novella – Tate James
The Heart Cantrip: a Family Spells Novella – C.M. Stunich
Eternal Hearts – A Forsaken Gods Series Novella – G. Bailey & Coralee June
A Damsel and a Demigod (The Guild Codex: Spellbound) – Annette Marie
The Fox and the Wolf – Clara Hartley

Freaky Witches by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Witches by Amanda M. Lee:

Mystic Caravan Circus is heading for the Midwest … and their first stop is Michigan. Hemlock Cove to be exact.

Poet Parker is looking forward to what she believes will be a quiet time. Hemlock Cove isn’t big, after all, and Mystic Caravan is essentially serving as the centerpiece for a paranormal festival in a town where everyone pretends to be witches.

There’s just one problem … real witches are afoot, and they’re unbelievably powerful.

When a body drops close to the circus grounds, Poet finds herself facing off with local law enforcement, the town’s only reporter, and an elderly witch who is set in her ways … and knows exactly how she’s going to do things no matter who agrees with her or not.

Yes, Poet is about to interact with the Winchester witches, and who comes out on top is anybody’s guess. The only thing both factions know is that they have to work together to uncover a killer and keep their true natures under wraps. That’s easier said than done, especially when Nellie and Aunt Tillie join forces and decided to take control of the situation.

It’s a battle for supremacy, with Mystic Caravan in one corner and the Wicked Witches of the Midwest in the other. Both sides are going to come out swinging … and cursing.

Place your bets.

Two Witches and a Whiskey by Annette MarieTwo Witches and a Whiskey by Annette Marie:

Three months ago, I landed a job as a bartender. But not at a bar–at a guild. Yeah, the magic kind.

I’m not a badass mage like my three smokin’ hot best friends. I’m not a sorcerer or an alchemist, or even a wussy witch. I’m just a human, slinging drinks like a pro and keeping my non-magical nose out of mythic business. Seriously, I know my limits.

So why am I currently standing in a black-magic ritual circle across from a fae lord?

Somewhere behind me, my three mage friends are battling for their lives. Somewhere near my feet is the rogue witch I just knocked out with a stolen spell. And I have about five seconds to convince this very angry sea god not to shmoosh me like a bug.

I’m pretty sure this wasn’t in the job description.

Rainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah MendlesohnRainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah Mendlesohn:

Authors featured are Harry Robertson, Edward Ahern, Victoria Zammit, Erin Horáková, Cheryl Morgan, Sarah Ash, Kathleen Jowitt, Sean Robinson, Garrick Jones and MJ Logue, and the settings vary from a mediaeval monastery to the ‘final frontier’, give or take the odd supernatural realm along the way. Stories of love in the past, present and future – all as fascinating in their variety as love itself.

 

 

Liars Called by Ty HutchinsonLiars Called by Stephan Morse:

Abandoned by his father, too proud to ask his brother for help, and lured by the promise of money, Lance gets on a bus that mysteriously appears outside his house in the middle of the night.

It brings him and others to a dream-like land where anything can be bought and sold, even magic. When he returns home, he finds his family has changed, the world has moved on, and monsters from faerie tales overrun the town.

Survival is paramount—but everything has a price.

Revenge by Nathan HystadRevenge by Nathan Hystad:

The Rift has opened.

The aliens invaded.

The Eureka is on the other side.

Flint, Wren, and Ace, along with Charles, are now members of the Eureka, a state-of-the-art vessel heading for a world in the far reaches of a new galaxy. Sixty years ago a colony ship was sent there, along with someone close to their benefactor.

But when they arrive, they find getting to the surface isn’t as easy as they thought. With a crash landing, and news that shocks the entire crew, they must collectively find a way to get the Pilgrim off-planet, and into the fight against the Watchers.

One of the crew leaves from orbit, spelling betrayal, and the others know time is against them. They must create a virus and bring it to the enemy’s home world, but not everything is as it seems.

Join our heroes as they fight for the future, knowing an all-out war awaits them back home, on the other side of the Rift.

Ghostly Hunt by K.E. O'ConnorGhostly Hunt by K.E. O’Connor:

Murder by crossbow. A haunted house used for ghost hunting, and an unloved iguana waiting for his soul mate!

When Lorna Shadow takes on a short term job at Applebank Manor, she gets the shock of her life. It turns out she’s in charge of setting up romantic weekends full of ghost hunting!

When a recent murder comes to light and the ghost asks for help, Lorna’s drawn into the mystery, alongside Helen and Flipper.

As the mystery deepens, the house ghosts cause Lorna problems, while Helen has to get to grips with a broken stove and a giant iguana. Then another crossbow murder takes place.

With the police closing in on the wrong suspect, Lorna must move fast. Can she stop the killer before they strike again and save an innocent man? And will Helen help a lonely iguana find his forever home?

There will be ghosts, humor, romance, treats, and a murder (or two) to solve in this new cozy ghost mystery.

Dimension Thieves by Misty ProvencherDimension Thieves by Misty Provencher:

The world is a much smaller place since the President droned the lower classes, making them mindless servants. Free will, granted to the elite, is in jeopardy of extinction.

Force Steele, son of a high-ranking advisor, has dedicated himself to eradicating mass droning, but now that the President destroyed the machine that could reverse the program, there is no way in Force’s world to replace the one-of-a-kind gears.

In this gripping serial, Force partners with a shifty mechanic and a sketchy crew to retrieve the gears. They must travel across lateral dimensions, often stealing the materials they need—even from themselves—to fix their dwindling world.

Digital Assassin by Jaxon ReedDigital Assassin by Jaxon Reed:

New technology allowed humans to reach for the stars. Now technology has led to war.

Opposing AI systems battle in a monumental struggle for control of the galaxy. But one planet remains a refuge of independent thought. Lute is home to pirates, harboring ruthless companies of warships hunting for prey.

The pirates are offered the spoils of war, for a price. Captain Christopher Raleigh leads his crew in an effort to snag a lucrative transport on the opposing side. Along with the ship, he snares the Tetrarch’s daughter and several hundred indentured servants.

But not all are who they seem. As the bodies pile up, Raleigh has to figure out who is telling the truth and decide if the spoils of war are truly worth it.

Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner RobertsPower and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts:

Aufleur is a city of honey cakes, decadent ritual… and a secret war fought by an army of beautiful monsters. The Creature Court die and bleed to keep the daylight folk safe, but no one even knows they exist.

Who will be the new Power and Majesty of the Creature Court: a man who was broken and exiled from their world, or the woman who knows nothing of their ways? Neither of them wants to rule, but Ashiol is determined to train Velody to take his place, so that he can finally escape his destiny.

 

Drone by Kyle Alexander RominesDrone by Kyle Alexander Romines:

After the emergence of the destructive, godlike Titans, the world is more dangerous than ever.

When drone pilot David Hunter is recruited to join a top-secret military program, he learns the government has captured the Titan Prometheus. Once considered a hero by many, Prometheus is now an empty shell, retrofitted with technology to serve as a new kind of drone–and it’s David’s task to use the Titan’s powers on the government’s behalf.

David has his own reasons to distrust Titans, but when he discovers some vestiges of Prometheus’ consciousness remain, it sets in motion a course of events that will cause him to learn what it means to be a hero.

Love Magic by Jesi Lea RyanLove Magic by Jesi Lea Ryan:

“The day I met Derrick while playing my violin in the park was magical. Unfortunately, magic and love together don’t always mix.”

Oliver met Derrick while busking in the park, and they hit it off from the start. At first, Derrick’s “mysterious magician” vibe was intriguing, but after two botched dates, Oliver was ready to call it quits.

Fearing he lost his chance with Oliver, Derrick makes a last-ditch effort to win Oliver’s heart with a romantic Valentine’s date. But when love and magic collide, things tend to go awry. Will these two guys make it through the date unscathed?

Winterbloom by Jessica RydillWinterbloom by Jessica Rydill:

Sophie Vasilyevich is a teenager growing up in Anglond, the child of exiles. Sometimes grass springs up where she walks, and her future holds an unusual fate: she is going to be kidnapped when she is sixteen, and no one can stop it.

Taken between worlds to the city of Bath in 1920’s England, Sophie meets a young man called James Carnwallis, once a pilot in the Great War. But even as she falls in love, she learns more about the forces at work – and her fate in their plans.

As an alliance of shamans, ghosts and gods assembles in a desperate attempt to recover Sophie and prevent the destruction of their worlds, they find that their only hope may lie in Sophie’s gift, and in the Greenwood: a power older than time itself.

My Wicked Valentine by Lotta SmithMy Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.

Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Noble's Honor by Glynn StewartNoble’s Honor by Glynn Stewart:

Vassal of the Queen of the Fae
Noble of the Wild Hunt
Child of the Horned King.
Bait.

Jason Kilkenny has learned his full heritage and the nature of the bloodline that runs in his veins. One quarter mortal, he is also the child of a Power, the Horned King of the Wild Hunt of the Fae.

But his father is dead, murdered in a fae civil war that ended before Jason was born. It ended because of a powerful spell the Horned King cast, trading his life to deny the Masked Lords the weapon they needed to kill the Fae Powers.

Now, Jason gathers allies and resources in his new home of Calgary. The Fae Masked Lords are hunting him, but he has what they want and they have to come to him. The Fae Powers have prepared a trap for their long-hidden enemies, with Jason as both bait and ambush.It’s a clever plan—but no plan survives contact with the enemy!

Ruined Worlds by Jeff TanyardRuined Worlds by Jeff Tanyard:

Jerry Harper is back on Homestead recovering from his ordeal. The galactic political situation is deteriorating, and it looks like war between the Agrarian Commonwealth and the Reliant Mentarchy is inevitable. Jerry’s ordered to report in, and the military puts him back into action. He’s a spaceborne Rifleman once again.

The last hopes for peace are dashed. War is declared! Jerry and his men begin their first war patrol. But the Mentarch hits fast and hard, and its atrocities leave the Commonwealth reeling. Jerry’s electrokinesis is Homestead’s not-so-secret weapon, but he’s still just one man. He can’t be everywhere at once, and the defeats start to mount.

The Commonwealth desperately needs a victory, something to boost morale. Jerry knows his ability is powerful enough to swing a battle. But he still has orders to follow, and his options are limited. If he can’t find a way to help turn the tide soon, it might never happen. Because the Mentarch is relentless, and it’s determined to reduce the Commonwealth to a collection of ruined worlds.

Seeds of Change by Willow ThomsonSeeds of Change by Willow Thomson:

Jey is an introverted, intuitive healer with nothing left to lose. All her healing skill couldn’t save her mother from a virulent manmade virus. The heat index of 2071 Earth has reached crippling levels. Jey is barely coping—until she stumbles upon an opportunity to join the crew of Two by Two, the first colony ship set to launch from the ailing Earth.

The mission—to create an idealistic artisan colony on an unexplored exoplanet—fits right in with Jey’s dreams. Her friendship with a clairvoyant child onboard the ship, her growing empathic abilities, and her bumbling attempts at love bring her hope.

But when a rival corporation sabotages the ship, and their target planet is a blasted wasteland, Jey finds herself at the center of the conflict.

Can she set aside her old self destructive patterns? Can she take a leap into a new way of being—and seeing to save her colony? Join Jey and her shipmates on the journey to Aride to find out.

Seeds of Change is a soft science fiction novel with a splash of metaphysics and magic. It is a coming of age story with big themes, small pleasures, and an ensemble cast of characters living in a world you won’t want to leave.

Outcasts of the Earth by James David VictorOutcasts of the Earth by James David Victor:

Criminals. Murderers. Thieves. That’s what makes the Outcast Marines special. And expendable.

The Outcast Marines are the worst of the worst. If you’re conscripted, you will likely spend the rest of your days going on desperate missions that no one else can, or will, do. That’s an option Solomon, Jezzie, Malady, and the other Outcasts gladly took, though, because the alternative was certain death on a remote prison moon. And that’s a good thing, because sometimes it takes some truly bad guys to save the day.

Outcasts of Earth is the first book in the Outcast Marines series. If you like gritty 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.

Download Outcasts of Earth and see how the “bad guys” save humanity in the 23rd century!

Sword of the Kaigen by M.L. WangThe Sword of the Kaigen by M.L. Wang

On a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’

Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.

Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?

Second Coming by A.E. WilliamsSecond Coming by A.E. Williams

What Will Jesus Do?

After being crucified for Mankind’s sins, Jesus Christ and his half-brother, Lucifer, pass the time before His Resurrection playing cards in Hades.

They discuss the Plan of God, which they realize is another scheme intended to push Judgement Day thousands of years into the future.

After a heated exchange, Jesus gambles a billion souls that, by repeating the wager that Lucifer and God undertook regarding Job several thousand years prior, Mankind will prove His argument.

Lucifer agrees, and the next day, Jesus rises.

But, as the years go by, Jesus realizes that Lucifer may have stacked the deck in his favor!

He publishes his parables and morality tales under various pseudonyms.

He uses His knowledge of The List, composed by His Father, to guide His readers to the Truth.

In the current day, He now lives on his yacht, the Virgin Mary, in the Red Sea.

As His wager with Lucifer draws to a close, Signs of the Apocalypse portend that the Time of Revelations is at hand!

What will He do to save the human race from itself?

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for February 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some January 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.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have plenty of cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, craft mysteries, animal mysteries, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, Jazz Age mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, action thrillers, historical thrillers, pulp thrillers, science fiction thrillers, police procedurals, private investigators, amateur sleuths, serial killers, assassins, vigilantes, CIA agents, dead people who got better, cold cases, crime-busting witches, crime-busting ghosts, overweight detectives, murder on the seaside and ski lodges, in country manors and libraries, in big cities and small towns, in Upstate New York, the Missouri backwoods, New York City, Australia, London and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime 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:

Dying for an Education by Stacey AlabasterDying for an Education by Stacey Alabaster:

Alyson has headed off to university to explore higher education, leaving Claire back in Eden Bay for an adventure of her own. When a professor turns up dead, Alyson must find a killer before her potential education gets the best of her. Can Alyson and Claire survive their separate adventures and bring a killer to justice?

Dying for an Education is the tenth book in the Hang Ten Australian Cozy Mystery series, a fast-paced cozy mystery with an authentic Australian flair. If you quirky characters and unexpected twists, you’re going to love the Alyson and Claire.

Brideg to Burn by Rachel AmphlettBridge to Burn by Rachel Amphlett:

When a mummified body is found in a renovated building, the gruesome discovery leads Detective Kay Hunter and her team into a complex murder investigation.

The subsequent police inquiry exposes corruption, lies and organised crime within the tight-knit community – and Kay’s determination to seek justice for the young murder victim could ruin the reputations of men who will do anything to protect their business interests.

But as Kay closes in on the killer, tragedy strikes closer to home in an event that will send a shockwave through her personal life and make her question everything she values.

Can Kay keep her private and professional life under control while she tries to unravel one of the strangest murder cases of her career?

She'll Stitch You Up by B.K. BaxterShe’ll Stitch You Up by B.K. Baxter:

After her generous, and unintentional, donation for splinter-free park benches, Velma Harmon gets invited to a charity dinner hosted by the Beautification Committee of Bliss at the home of Everett Gaines, one of the wealthiest widowers in town. With no interest in going, she hopes to find adventure elsewhere, much to the dismay of Ethel and Chief Rayne. Ethel has always wanted to see Gaines Manor up close, and Chief Rayne just wants Velma to enjoy her retirement and stay out of trouble.

When Ethel begs her to go to the event in hopes of finding herself a man, Velma reluctantly agrees. But when a heavy storm takes out a tree and a bridge, Velma finds herself trapped in Gaines Manor with two dead bodies, one handsome mailman, and a vicious killer. Who said nothing exciting ever happens in Bliss, Texas?

A Valentine for the Silencer by Cora BuhlertA Valentine for the Silencer by Cora Buhlert:

Valentine’s Day 1938: All Richard Blakemore a.k.a. the masked crimefighter known only as the Silencer wants is to have a romantic dinner with his beautiful fiancée Constance Allen.

But on his way to his date, Richard happens upon a mugging in progress. Can he save the victim and make sure that young Thomas Walden has the chance to propose to his girlfriend? And will he make it to dinner with Constance on time?

This is a short Valentine’s Day story of 7200 words or approx. 24 print pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

Valentine's Madness, edited by Beth ByersValentine’s Madness: A 1920s Historical Mystery Anthology, edited by Beth Byers:

Welcome to a very flapper Valentine’s Day!

Are you ready for the roaring twenties? For spunky young women crafting their own lives? If so, you’ll love Violet, Julia, Abigail, Evelyn, and Rosemary.

Inside, you’ll find four short Valentine’s day adventures, 1920s style including roses, chocolates, kisses, and cocktails. With stories from The Violet Carlyle Mysteries, the Piccadilly Ladies Club Mysteries, the Abigail Dutcher Mysteries, the Jazz & Gin Cozy Mysteries, and The Lillywhite Mysteries.

Winter Frost by Lauren CarrWinter Frost by Lauren Carr:

It all started with a chance encounter in the city with Blair, his late wife.

Chris Matheson and the Geezer Squad, working under the guise of a book club, dig into the events surrounding his late wife’s supposed death halfway around the globe. A state department employee shoots himself in the back three times. A CIA operative goes missing. A woman is targeted by an international assassin three years after being declared dead in a terrorist attack overseas.

Nothing is as it seems.

In his most personal cold case, Chris fights to uncover why the state department told him that Blair, the mother of his children, had been killed when she was alive. What had she uncovered that has made her a target? Who terrified her so much that she had gone into hiding and why are they now after him?

Killer Blow by M.A. ComleyKiller Blow by M.A. Comley:

A hunter on the prowl…

On the scent of his next victim.

DI Sara Ramsey has to dig deep to find an evil suspect who gets a thrill out of chasing victims to their deaths.

The murderer is smart, inventing new methods of tracking down his victims. Just as the inspector senses she’s closing in on the culprit, they change their MO, undoing all her hard work.

The media is striking fear into the residents. Can Sara set aside her personal problems and prevent the killing spree causing havoc on her patch?

Murder in Downfell Manor by E.M. CooperMurder in Downfell Manor by E.M. Cooper:

Eleanor Blakely hails from a long line of talented witches, yet after failing to graduate from the Fanglewick School of Magic her prospects look grim. An apprenticeship at the Wandermere Observatory in the Department of Astronomical Predictions offers her a second chance to gain registration as a magic practitioner, but after falling asleep on the job, missing the planetary alignment in the newly discovered Merlin constellation and mistaking a dragon weyr flying over Wandermere for the Cazilla comet shower, she’s booted out. In the Old World, a magically unlicensed adult witch sits just above humans and troublesome teenage goblins on the scale of social worthiness, well below the most ordinary elves, witches and wizards. Unable to practise magic and in her mid-twenties, Eleanor endures work as a transfer officer, supervising humans on the wards of Silverwing Hospital. Her team transports witches and wizards suffering a fatal affliction, known as magic madness or magdolor, to St Blightus, an asylum in the south. In the midst of a transfer, a murder changes everything, forcing her to flee across dimensions to Earth with an amnesiac wizard. Pursued by ruthless elves, she takes refuge in Downfell Manor, where her grandmother, Lucinda and her strange cat, Bella reside. Murder and mayhem follow Eleanor and Artemis, their paths inevitably crossing those of a non-magical wizard, Detective Finley Quiveridge.

The Girl in the Woods by Chris CulverThe Girl in the Woods by Chris Culver:

A volunteer found the body while searching the Missouri backwoods for a pair of missing teenagers. The victim was murdered and dumped at a camp site deep in the woods.

It’s tornado season in central Missouri. The air is still. The sky is dark green. There’s a wall cloud to the west.

A nasty storm is coming…

Detective Joe Court knows her team shouldn’t be out there, but they need to collect the evidence before it’s destroyed.

Little does Joe know, that storm should be the least of her concerns…

Letters in the Library by Kathi DaleyLetters in the Library by Kathi Daley:

A heartwarming cozy mystery series about losing everything, taking a chance, and starting again.

After suffering a personal tragedy Abby Sullivan buys a huge old seaside mansion she has never even seen, packs up her life in San Francisco, and moves to Holiday Bay Maine, where she is adopted, quite against her will, by a huge Maine Coon Cat named Rufus, a drifter with her own tragic past named Georgia, and a giant dog with an inferiority complex named Ramos. What Abby thought she needed was alone time to heal. What she ended up with was, an inn she never knew she wanted, a cat she couldn’t seem to convince to leave, and a new family she’d never be able to live without.

In book 2 of the series, Abby finds a bundle of letters which had been written in 1954 in the wall of the library after Lonnie tears it down as part of the remodel. Intrigued by the secret revealed in the letters, Abby and Georgia set out to find the rest of the story.

Meanwhile, Chief Colt Wilder uncovers a new clue relating to the death of a local girl the previous summer. In spite of her vow to focus her time on her writing, Abby finds herself pulled into the tangled web of half truths that may tell a different story than was first believed true.

Join Abby, Georgia, Rufus, and Ramos, as they continue with the remodel on the old mansion, prepare for a busy summer season, and continue to find a new meaning for their lives in the charming small town of Holiday Bay.

North Country Girl by Anthony DeCastroNorth Country Girl by Anthony DeCastro:

Voices from the past are best left there.

Myrtle Beach PI Fuzzy Koella knows this better than anyone.

But when his old teammate Jo Jo Bigtree calls about a young vagabond accused of murdering a nun, Fuzzy doesn’t heed that advice.

In the frigid landscape of Upstate New York, Fuzzy finds a town with a penchant for violence and dark secrets. An abusive high school hockey coach. A Voodoo doctor. A corrupt Tribal Sheriff. Even his own friend and the good Sister, herself.

As the temperature drops and the body count rises, Fuzzy questions the wisdom of sticking around to catch another bullet. Or worse, freezing to death. But a scared kid sits in jail that nobody seems to care about except Fuzzy.

Fuzzy Koella returns in his second, exciting adventure. If you love witty detective novels with a dose of hard-boiled action, you won’t want to miss North Country Girl.

The Fat Detective in Love by Christian HayesThe Fat Detective in Love by Christian Hayes:

Eugene Blake Is Back

When Eugene fills out an online dating profile he does not expect it to lead to his next case.

But his search for love triggers a mystery involving a glamorous (straight-to-video) movie actress, a shadowy society known as The Brotherhood of Broken Hearts and a fictitious 1940s New York detective. Oh, and he might just fall in love along the way.

This all means that Eugene is forced to put on his raincoat and head out into the rain-soaked city again.

Captivating, inventive and mysterious, The Fat Detective in Love is the second exciting book in the Eugene Blake trilogy by London novelist Christian Hayes.

Read now to find how Eugene’s journey as the most under-qualified detective in London continues…

The Ghost Who Says I Do by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost Who Says I Do by Bobbi Holmes:

A Valentine’s Day Wedding at Marlow House?

Love is in the air—along with secrets—some are deadlier than others.

Will secrets from Clint Marlow’s past come back to haunt Walt and Danielle?

 

 

A Book of Truths by Ty HutchinsonA Book of Truths by Ty Hutchinson:

She’s feisty. She’s fearless. She’s fifteen. Meet Mui, the assassin’s daughter.

When a book filled with cryptic handwriting falls into Mui’s possession, she thinks nothing of the scribbling—until she learns the writings are hidden messages, and one is connected to her past.

But Mui’s not the only one interested in deciphering the symbols. Someone is killing anyone with knowledge of that information. Will Mui fall victim while figuring out her connection to the book?

A Book of Truths is the first installment in a gripping series about a mother-and-daughter assassin duo.

Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia JaymesGhoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:

It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.

Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.

And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.

Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.

The Spoils of War by Ethan JohnsonThe Spoils of War by Ethan Johnson:

Be careful what you search for…

After a successful tactical strike against The Thirteen, Ana Lode searches the city for her fellow rookie officer Sloan, who languishes in a secret detention facility.

This causes friction between Ana and the mysterious Klark, who insists on her undivided attention in the struggle to free the city from the iron grip of The Thirteen.

When Diane Pembrook leads a strike team to their remote hideout, Ana is forced to choose between her loyalty to Klark and her vow to save Sloan. What — and who — is she willing to sacrifice in the name of justice?

Freaky Witches by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Witches by Amanda M. Lee:

Mystic Caravan Circus is heading for the Midwest … and their first stop is Michigan. Hemlock Cove to be exact.

Poet Parker is looking forward to what she believes will be a quiet time. Hemlock Cove isn’t big, after all, and Mystic Caravan is essentially serving as the centerpiece for a paranormal festival in a town where everyone pretends to be witches.

There’s just one problem … real witches are afoot, and they’re unbelievably powerful.

When a body drops close to the circus grounds, Poet finds herself facing off with local law enforcement, the town’s only reporter, and an elderly witch who is set in her ways … and knows exactly how she’s going to do things no matter who agrees with her or not.

Yes, Poet is about to interact with the Winchester witches, and who comes out on top is anybody’s guess. The only thing both factions know is that they have to work together to uncover a killer and keep their true natures under wraps. That’s easier said than done, especially when Nellie and Aunt Tillie join forces and decided to take control of the situation.

It’s a battle for supremacy, with Mystic Caravan in one corner and the Wicked Witches of the Midwest in the other. Both sides are going to come out swinging … and cursing.

Place your bets.

Lady Rample and Cupid's Kiss by Shéa MacLeodLady Rample and Cupid’s Kiss by Shéa MacLeod:

Just when Lady Rample has given up on love, a former flame reappears, bringing with him all sorts of emotions she thought buried. Unfortunately, that flame comes with one very aggressive and rather angry almost-ex-wife. The ensuing catfight is almost worth the price of admission.

When the ex-wife is found dead in Hyde Park, stabbed with a hatpin in the shape of a heart, the police naturally assume the killer is the husband. Our intrepid heroine is not about to allow her love to go down for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately, proving him innocent may put her own neck on the line.

Never one to shirk from danger, Lady R—with the help of her eccentric Aunt Butty—will need all her wits about her if she’s to solve the crimes of the Cupid Killer.

Enjoy the glitz and glamor of the 1930s with the sixth book in the popular 1930s historical mystery series, Lady Rample Mysteries.

Arsenic in the Azaleas by Dale MayerArsenic in the Azaleas by Dale Mayer:

Riches to rags. … Controlling to chaos. … But murder … seriously?

After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery’s chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan’s, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loquacious African gray parrot with a ripe vocabulary, and his buddy, Goliath, a monster-size cat with an equally monstrous attitude.

It’s the new start Doreen and her beloved basset hound, Mugs, desperately need. But, just as things start to look up for Doreen, Goliath the cat and Mugs the dog find a human finger in Nan’s overrun garden.

And not just a finger. Once the police start digging, the rest of the body turns up and turns out to be connected to an old unsolved crime.

With her grandmother as the prime suspect, Doreen soon finds herself stumbling over clues and getting on Corporal Mack Moreau’s last nerve, as she does her best to prove her beloved Nan innocent of murder.

Ghostly Hunt by K.E. O'ConnorGhostly Hunt by K.E. O’Connor:

Murder by crossbow. A haunted house used for ghost hunting, and an unloved iguana waiting for his soul mate!

When Lorna Shadow takes on a short term job at Applebank Manor, she gets the shock of her life. It turns out she’s in charge of setting up romantic weekends full of ghost hunting!

When a recent murder comes to light and the ghost asks for help, Lorna’s drawn into the mystery, alongside Helen and Flipper.

As the mystery deepens, the house ghosts cause Lorna problems, while Helen has to get to grips with a broken stove and a giant iguana. Then another crossbow murder takes place.

With the police closing in on the wrong suspect, Lorna must move fast. Can she stop the killer before they strike again and save an innocent man? And will Helen help a lonely iguana find his forever home?

There will be ghosts, humor, romance, treats, and a murder (or two) to solve in this new cozy ghost mystery.

The Forgotten Mother by M.L. RoseThe Forgotten Mother by M.L. Rose:

When a famous film director is brutally killed in his home, Detective Arla Baker is called in to investigate. This killer is sadistic, insanely clever, and somehow able to stay one step ahead of the police. As Arla pulls the clues out, disturbing secrets emerge from the glittering glamour of London’s film studios. This director had secrets that an entire industry would kill to keep quiet…

Arla’s own love life is heating up. But before she knows it, the man in her life is threatened by this killer, and he will not stop till he meets his goal. For some reason, the killer wants Arla.

He’s watching her.

Waiting for her.

He will destroy everyone around her till he has Arla in his grasp…

My Wicked Valentine by Lotta SmithMy Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.

Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Valentine's Blizzard Murder by Linnea WestValentine’s Bizzard Mystery by Linnea West:

When a minor celebrity staying at the Shady Lake Bed and Breakfast dies of an allergic reaction during a blizzard, it doesn’t seem like it could get much worse. But was it really an accident?

Jake Crawford is a D list celebrity who loves to come back to Shady Lake to be the big fish in a small pond. This time, he brought his new wife back to Shady Lake for his honeymoon and they are staying at the bed and breakfast that Tessa Schmidt helps her family run. Jake is kind of a jerk, but then a blizzard hits and he dies of an allergic reaction. It seems like things couldn’t get any worse for a Valentine’s Day weekend. But Tessa is starting to suspect that the allergic reaction isn’t the horrible accident she had assumed.

As the blizzard stretches on and on, secrets keep coming out. It seems like almost everyone has a motive to kill Jake. Can Tessa figure out who wanted to kill Jake Crawford before the killer strikes again?

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Introducing Thurvok and the Return of Richard Blakemore

Yes, this is a new release post. But first, I’d first like to point out that there is a big 99 cent/pence sale of romance and/or crime noir e-books going on at Double-Cross Lit. Lots of books and even box sets in two different genres on offer, including two of mine.

Furthermore, the Blast-Off with Sci-Fi promo is still going on at StoryOrigins. What is StoryOrigins, you ask. StoryOrigins is a new service for free e-book giveaways. One of those is the Blast off with Sci Fi giveaway organised by C. Gockel. You can get 18 science fiction e-books for free, including one of mine, if you enter your e-mail address and sign up for the respective authors’ newsletters. Just go here and pick out your next science fiction read.

But now, let’ get back to the regularly scheduled new release announcement. However, this one has a little difference. Because I’m not just announcing my own new release (okay, so I am), but that of Richard Blakemore.

Those of you who’ve been following my writing will probably recognise the name Richard Blakemore as the protagonist of the Silencer series, who is a pulp fiction writer in the 1930s – when he’s not fighting crime as the Silencer that is.

The Silencer series focusses on Richard’s crimefighting exploits — we only get brief glimpses of his writing, most notably in Fact or Fiction. However, I have always wondered just what Richard’s writing was like, especially since it is established throughout the series that The Silencer wasn’t all he wrote.

In the Silencer story Mean Streets and Dead Alleys, there is a brief scene where Richard purchases the January 1936 issue of Weird Tales and is pleased to find a new instalment of a Conan serial by Robert E. Howard, a Jirel of Joiry novelette by C.L. Moore, a Jules de Grandin novelette by Seabury Quinn as well as one of Margaret Brundage’s famous covers. He also muses that he would like to take a stab at writing something like that one day. This throwaway scene got me thinking, “What if Richard actually did write a sword and sorcery series for Jake Levonsky?”

Not that he would have used that term, of course, since the genre monicker “sword and sorcery” was only coined by Fritz Leiber in 1961. And just in case you’re wondering why Richard never acknowledges Fritz Leiber as an influence (though he was certainly one of mine), that’s because Leiber didn’t start publishing his Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories until 1939, i.e. after Richard started writing the Thurvok stories.

Fast forward a couple of years to the 2018 July short story challenge, where the aim is to write a story per day during the month of July. Finding inspiration for 31 stories isn’t that easy, so I have a folder full of evocative images – photos, cover art, paintings, vintage illustrations and SFF concept art – on my harddrive which I flip through to see if any image sparks an idea. And one day, this painting by Michael Macrae entitled “Hot Dirt” did and I found myself writing a sword and sorcery story about a wandering sellsword named Thurvok who meets monsters in a desert valley. I was quite happy with the result and so I thought, “What if this is Richard Blakemore’s lost sword and sorcery adventure?”

Somehow, my mind kept returning to Thurvok and kept latching onto images and ideas that evoked sword and sorcery tales. And so, by the end of July, I had written four more stories featuring Thurvok and the motley crew of companions he picks up on his travels. Did I channel Richard Blakemore, while I was writing the Thurvok stories? I don’t know. All I know is that they were written under extreme conditions in the space of about a week, the hottest week of the year at that, and that they are quite different from my usual work. And so the idea to have a bit of metafictional fun and pass off the Thurvok stories as the work of Richard Blakemore, 1930s pulp writer and crimefighter, was born.

Hence, I decided to credit the story to Richard and pass myself off as the editor who rediscovered him. I wrote an introduction and an afterword. I also created a blog, a Twitter account and an Amazon author page for Richard and filled out a Smashwords interview in his persona, all of which was quite fun. In case you’re wondering about the author photo, it’s from a 1941 Sears catalogue.

And if you want to know how and why Richard created Thurvok, he tells his version of the story in his own words at his blog.

The first two Thurvok stories are available at all the usual e-book retailers now. There is a third coming, that will have to wait until the next announcement, even though it is already available at some retailers. And if you miss the Silencer – well, he has another adventure coming up as well.

But for now, prepare to meet Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friend Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, in…

The Valley of the Man Vultures
The Valley of the Man Vultures by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertOn his way to Krysh, a city of fabled riches, Thurvok, the sellsword, must first pass through the Valley of the Accursed Blood.

Traditionally, those travelling to Krysh make offerings at the temple at the entrance of the valley in exchange for protection on their journey. But Thurvok scoffs at such superstition and decides to continue his journey without any divine protection. His refusal to make an offering infuriates the temple priest Alberon who promptly curses Thurvok.

Thurvok is not much bothered by this – he does not believe in curses. However, the valley holds dangers that don’t particularly care whether Thurvok believes in them or not.

This is a short story of 4400 words or 15 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 4400 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

The Tomb of the Undead Slaves
The Tomb of the Undead Slaves by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThurvok, the sellsword, and his friend and companion Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, venture into the Rusted Desert to seek the tomb of the ancient king Chagurdai and the legendary treasure supposedly hidden there.

But once Thurvok and Meldom venture into the tomb, they find that a treasure is not all that’s buried there.

This is a short story of 4100 words or 13 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

 

More information.
Length: 4100 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Love Through Space and Time – A Round-up of Indie Valentine’s Day Speculative Fiction

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Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Valentine’s Day science fiction, fantasy and horror by indie authors.

These Valentine’s Day stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have urban fantasy, a lot of paranormal romance, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, science fiction romance, space opera, space colonisation, horror, alternate history, time travel, dragons, werewolves, wizards, ghosts, aliens, robots. magical greeting card writers,  crime-fighting witches, crime-fighting ghosts, grumpy cupids, Valentine’s Day in space and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Valentine’s Day.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog 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:

Roses & Tails by Barbara BeRoses & Tails by Barbara Be:

She is an alien with silver-blue skin and a sexy tail, he is human and sometimes she doesn’t quite understand his customs. Like that strange human event of Valentine’s Day. He has something special planned for that day and it involves Zero G. But maybe he hasn’t quite thought this through. Sex in Zero G has some unique challenges.

This short story has previously been published in 2017 as part of the “Red Hots” anthology, which has been unpublished.

 

Valentine's Day by Zack BrooksValentine’s Day: A Charlie The Cupid Short Story by Zack Brooks:

Meet Charles Vefflin. A cupid stuck as a drone within a corporate company run by the Fates in Boston, he is doomed to cause people to fall in love with their soulmates for all of eternity. He hates his job and most people of the world. But a job is a job, and he isn’t going to let a little thing like people ruin the few pleasures in his life.

Join Charlie on the worst day of the year, Valentine’s Day, where he must make a young couple fall in love at a most unconventional party. See him deal with the idiocy of his co-workers, the lunacy of humans, and even run into a perverted old god. But, one thing’s for sure, he’ll see the job through. Even if it takes some liquid courage just to get through the night.

Valentine’s day is short story, about 6,500 words or 22 printed pages

Valentine's Day on Iago Prime by Cora BuhlertValentine’s Day on Iago Prime by Cora Buhlert:

Kai and Maisie are about the celebrate their first Valentine’s Day on the planet Iago Prime. However, the holiday traditions they established back on Earth such as celebrating Valentine’s Day with a picnic on the beach are impossible to maintain in the hostile environment of their new home. But in spite of the many limitations imposed by living on Iago Prime, Kai pulls out all the stops to give Maisie an unforgettable Valentine’s Day.

This is a science fictional Valentine’s Day story of 2200 words or approx. 10 print pages.

Quill Me Now by Jordan Castillo PriceQuill Me Now by Jordan Castillo Price:

What if the words you wrote came true?

Spellcraft isn’t exactly a respectable business, but it does pay the bills. At least, it should. Unfortunately, Dixon Penn failed his Spellcraft initiation. Instead of working in his family’s shop, he’s stuck delivering takeout orders in his uncle’s beat-up Buick.

Winning a Valentine’s Day contest at the largest greeting card company in the tri-state area would be just the thing to get his life back on track—but something at Precious Greetings just doesn’t add up. And despite numerous warnings to quit pestering them about his contest entry, he simply can’t stop himself from coming back again and again.

It doesn’t hurt that the head of security is such a hottie. If Dixon had any common sense, he’d be scared of the big, mysterious, tattooed Russian.

To be fair, no one ever accused him of being too smart….

A Werewolf's Valentine by Zoe ChantA Werewolf’s Valentine by Zoe Chant:

Curvy cat shifter McKenzi Enkel gave up on love after one too many heartbreaks. What’s more, she declared war on Valentine’s Day. But then a handsome, whiskey-voiced stranger comes to town.

Sexy singer West, a lone wolf who lost his pack as a child, never stopped searching for his missing family. He sings when he can, fights when he must, and always moves on—until he meets the scorching hot McKenzi in the diner she reluctantly decorated for Valentine’s Day.

In a small town of shifters where anyone can find a refuge, West and McKenzi still feel alone. But as they begin to open their hearts to each other, he can’t make himself leave… and she can’t let him go. With Valentine’s Day approaching, can West and McKenzi forge a new pack… and find a love even they can’t deny?

My Maggie Valentine by Kate DanleyMy Maggie Valentine by Kate Danley:

Valentine’s Day is terrible. Especially when you’re Maggie MacKay and tasked with chaperoning the local high school Valentine’s dance. Join Maggie and Killian on a holiday, short story adventure. Sometimes you wrestle with demons. And sometimes they just want to cuddle…

A part of the Maggie MacKay: Holiday Special short story series. This stands independently from the main Magical Tracker series and can be read at any time and in any order.

WARNING: This adventure contains cussing, brawling, and unladylike behavior. Proceed with caution.

Vintage Valentine by Cat GardinerVintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner:

Romance and time-travel meet Pride and Prejudice in this utterly romantic modern story. Step back in time to WWII-era for a sweet Valentine’s Day.

What begins as a begrudging visit to Time & Again antique shop turns into so much more than discovering trinkets from the past. The unexpected happens! Love and lessons await Lizzy Bennet when she leaves her mobile device in the future. Travel with her through a portal to timeless romance back in 1943 where she’s looking up into the eyes of one dashing G.I. at U.S.O dance.

An 8,500 word sweet paranormal romance.

A Dragon's Valentine by C.D. GorriThe Dragon’s Valentine by C.D. Gorri:

“She’s given up on love, but he’s just begun…”

After five hundred years of servitude, Dragon Shifter, Callius Falk and his three brothers are finally freed from their bonds. Callius has one mission, to find his true mate.

Winifred Castillo spends her nights tending bar at The Thirsty Dog, a local favorite in Maccon City, New Jersey. After her boyfriend skips town with her rent money, she’s sworn off men. For good!

But what’s a Werewolf to do when a dark-haired stranger with golden eyes and rippling muscles claims her as his mate?

The Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi Holmes:

A romantic weekend at Marlow House Bed and Breakfast turns deadly when Earthbound Spirits founder, Peter Morris, is murdered. Plenty of people had a reason to want the man dead—especially Danielle’s current guests.

But it isn’t Morris’ ghost distracting Danielle on this deadly Valentine’s Day weekend, it’s her late husband Lucas. She has her hands full with suitors coming from all directions—both living and dead—while she tries to figure out if there’s a killer in Marlow House.

 

Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia JaymesGhoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:

It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.

Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.

And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.

Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.

Bear Valley Valentine by T.S. JoyceBear Valley Valentine by T.S. Joyce:

Colin Cross is a lone bear shifter living on the outskirts of Bear Valley. He likes his reclusive lifestyle, but when he musters the nerve to talk to the woman he has feelings for, being alone just doesn’t seem like enough anymore. When he finds Hadley on an online dating site, it’s the perfect way to build a relationship with her without dragging her into his dark past. Hadley is human, and humans don’t belong in his world, but a little online flirting never hurt anyone.

Hadley Bennett has had it with dating local townies. Determined to cast her net a little wider, she enters the chaotic world of online dating. When she finally secures a face-to-face date with the elusive Bearman28, it’ll be a Valentine’s Day to remember.

And if Hadley can handle his real identity, they just might find what they’ve both been searching for.

Bear Valley Valentine is a 20,000 word story with heart pounding romance, a thoughtful alpha bear, and spicy Valentine’s Day surprises.

For the Love of Cupidity by Raven KennedyFor the Love of Cupidity by Raven Kennedy:

First comes love, then comes mating, then comes the baby and some cupid training.

Cupidville is overrun with new cupid recruits, and it’s up to me to train them in time for Valentine’s Day. Too bad I have four mates who keep insisting that it’s time for me to take a break.

Juggling my role as the cupid boss, being a mate, and handling motherhood isn’t always easy, but it’s sure as hearts worth it. Let’s just hope I can get these cupid flunkies trained in time.

Author’s Note: This is a Heart Hassle novella just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Love Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. MiersLove Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. Miers:

A valentines day charity anthology featuring 8 exclusive stories from your favorite bestselling Paranormal and Fantasy romance authors! All proceeds will be donated to Room to Read!

How to Capture a Demon’s Heart – Graceley Knox & D.D. Miers
A Demon’s Plaything (The Elite Guards) – Amelia Hutchins
Deep Blue Sea – Pippa DaCosta
The Hellhound’s Legion: A Kit Davenport Novella – Tate James
The Heart Cantrip: a Family Spells Novella – C.M. Stunich
Eternal Hearts – A Forsaken Gods Series Novella – G. Bailey & Coralee June
A Damsel and a Demigod (The Guild Codex: Spellbound) – Annette Marie
The Fox and the Wolf – Clara Hartley

Moonshine Valetnine by Tegan MaherMoonshine Valentine by Tegan Maher:

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Noelle has no idea what to get for Hunter. While she’s getting her hair cut and tossing around gift ideas, Coralee’s long-term boyfriend pops in and declares his undying love via a marriage proposal, breaking rule numero uno of their relationship clause.

He’s only the first to fall, though. When the men of Keyhole Lake start acting like lovesick lunatics, Noelle and Rae have to put their heads together to figure out what happened before the whole town goes loopy in love, or someone ends up in jail.

This story falls in between book 4, Murder and Mayhem, and Book 5, Murder and Marinade, in the Witches of Keyhole Lake Mystery Series.

Heart Attack by Terri MainHeart Attack by Terri Main:

When Smelling Roses, Watch Out for the Thorns

Strange things are happening in Armstrong City right before St. Valentine’s Day. Several women who found roses on their doorstep passed out inexplicably. Carolyn and Mike must figure out how this happened, who is doing it, and why?

A fun little mystery for the holiday of love.

 

Valentines Day Time Patrol by Bob MayerValentines Day: Time Patrol by Bob Mayer:

“The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity—or it will move apart.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What does it take to change history and destroy our reality? Change events on the same date, 14 February, in six different years. The Time Patrol must send an agent back to each day, with just 24 hours for each to defeat the Shadow’s plan to disrupt our time-line, creating a time tsunami and wiping our present out.

Ivar: 1929. Gunmen massacre seven people in the infamous St. Valentines Day Massacre. Al Capone is consolidating his grip on the Outfit in Chicago. But what if it turns out very differently?

Eagle: 1945. President Roosevelt, heading home from the Yalta Conference, stops on the Great Bitter Lake to meet King Idn Saud of Saudi Arabia to discuss a relatively new topic: Arab oil. And a Jewish homeland.

Roland: 1779. Captain Cook, famed explorer of the Pacific, meets his fate in Hawaii.

Scout: 278. Saint Valentine is beheaded near the Milvian Bridge.

Doc: 1945. The Dresden Firebombing. Kurt Vonnegut is in a slaughterhouse as the first bombers appear overheard.

Moms: 1946. The ENIAC computer, programmed by six women, is unveiled to the public. The press thinks the women are simply models.

The mission, as always for the Time Patrol, seems straight-forward: keep history intact. No matter the cost.

But this time, things go very differently than in previous missions and one of the team members must make the ultimate sacrifice.

Rainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah MendlesohnRainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah Mendlesohn:

Authors featured are Harry Robertson, Edward Ahern, Victoria Zammit, Erin Horáková, Cheryl Morgan, Sarah Ash, Kathleen Jowitt, Sean Robinson, Garrick Jones and MJ Logue, and the settings vary from a mediaeval monastery to the ‘final frontier’, give or take the odd supernatural realm along the way. Stories of love in the past, present and future – all as fascinating in their variety as love itself.

 

 

My Bloodiest Valentine, edited by K.A. MorseMy Bloodiest Valentine, edited by K.A. Morse:

Roses are red. So is your blood. It’s Valentine’s Day, and we’ve brought you something good. Abandon the chocolates, forget flowers and wine. Because these authors stories are bloody divine. Demons from Hell or a vampires kiss, this collection of stories you don’t want to miss.

 

 

 

Love Magic by Jesi Lea RyanLove Magic by Jesi Lea Ryan:

“The day I met Derrick while playing my violin in the park was magical. Unfortunately, magic and love together don’t always mix.”

Oliver met Derrick while busking in the park, and they hit it off from the start. At first, Derrick’s “mysterious magician” vibe was intriguing, but after two botched dates, Oliver was ready to call it quits.

Fearing he lost his chance with Oliver, Derrick makes a last-ditch effort to win Oliver’s heart with a romantic Valentine’s date. But when love and magic collide, things tend to go awry. Will these two guys make it through the date unscathed?

Validated by Valentine's by Joynll SchultzValidated by Valentine’s by Joynell Schultz:

Ivory has the perfect man, from his microchip processor to his flesh-like exterior.

Ivory hated that she loved her Christmas gift this year. Her sister gave her the perfect humanoid companion, but there’s just one problem: he’ll never be able to say he loves her, no matter how much Ivory falls in love with him.

Was her dream man a present or a curse?

But when Ethan (Ivory’s Dream Droid) looks at her with those sweet blue eyes and secretly earns enough money to enter her in the city-wide bake-off, she realizes she doesn’t care. He’s hers. And that’s the best gift of all.

Ivory’s perfect world falls apart the closer she gets to the bake-off. It starts with a lost entry and Ethan having a few programming malfunctions, then she discovers someone’s deliberately sabotaging her. What started out to be a dream Valentine’s day, begins to turn into a nightmare. A large supportive family, a caring artificial companion, and the best cupcake recipe in the world might not be enough to uncover who’s setting Ivory up to fail.

My Wicked Valentine by Lotta SmithMy Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.

Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Dragon's First Valentine by Emily Martha SorensenDragon’s First Valentine by Emily Martha Sorensen:

There’s a new dragon visiting from Chicago, and she’s green, like Virgil! Unfortunately, this might cause a few small problems nobody anticipated.

As well as a few revelations and surprises.

And all while Rose is trying to figure out what to give her husband for Valentine’s Day.

 

The Draed Arrow by Grigor WeeksThe Dread Arrow by Grigor Weeks:

Dark Space is strange, and so are the hitmen who live there. Strap in sweetheart. Love never hurt so good.

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Love and Crime – A Round-up of Indie Valentine’s Day Mysteries and Crime Fiction

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Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Valentine’s Day mysteries by indie and small press authors.

The holiday mysteries cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have plenty of cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, animal mysteries, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, jazz age mysteries, police procedurals, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, amateur sleuths, crime-fighting witches, crime-fighting bakers, crime-fighting ghosts, crime-fighting dogs, masked vigilantes, missing children, kidnappings, sleazy lawyers, serial killers, assassins and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Valentine’s Day.

As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday mysteries is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime 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:

Valentine's Day is Murder by Carolyn ArnoldValentine’s Day is Murder by Carolyn Arnold:

Cupid’s arrow may have missed its mark…

Jimmy finally takes a vacation–and a chance on love–only to be abducted. His female companion originally thinks he had cold feet about their relationship, but Sean and Sara know there’s more to it. Jimmy isn’t the type to just up and disappear, let alone leave a lady stranded.

Setting out on their private jet, Sean and Sara reach the tropical paradise of Ocho Rios, Jamaica with sightseeing as the last thing on their minds.

With a gold coin being their initial tie to Jimmy’s kidnapper, Sean and Sara even speculate about the involvement of pirates. Yet as the hours pass, and there’s no word from Jimmy’s captors, Sean and Sara will need to figure out the real motive before it’s too late.

With help from their friend, Adam, back in Albany, the pieces come together and not a moment too soon.

A Valentine for the Silencer by Cora BuhlertA Valentine for the Silencer by Cora Buhlert:

Valentine’s Day 1938: All Richard Blakemore a.k.a. the masked crimefighter known only as the Silencer wants is to have a romantic dinner with his beautiful fiancée Constance Allen.

But on his way to his date, Richard happens upon a mugging in progress. Can he save the victim and make sure that young Thomas Walden has the chance to propose to his girlfriend? And will he make it to dinner with Constance on time?

This is a short Valentine’s Day story of 7200 words or approx. 24 print pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

He never brings me flowers...He never brings me flowers… by Cora Buhlert

He never brings me flowers…

Waiting for your boyfriend to finally come home from work can be hell, especially if it’s your anniversary and you suspect he forgot – again. But does the ringing of the doorbell promise roses and sex and the long overdue proposal or something far more sinister?

Lovers’ Ridge

A foundling, a newborn, abandoned and left to die. But tonight, he will have his revenge on the parents who deserted him. Tonight, they will pay, at the very place where the story once began, at Lovers’ Ridge…

This is a bumper edition containing two short crime stories of 3200 words altogether. Both stories are also available as part of the collection Murder in the Family.

Valentine's Madness, edited by Beth ByersValentine’s Madness: A 1920s Historical Mystery Anthology, edited by Beth Byers:

Welcome to a very flapper Valentine’s Day!

Are you ready for the roaring twenties? For spunky young women crafting their own lives? If so, you’ll love Violet, Julia, Abigail, Evelyn, and Rosemary.

Inside, you’ll find four short Valentine’s day adventures, 1920s style including roses, chocolates, kisses, and cocktails. With stories from The Violet Carlyle Mysteries, the Piccadilly Ladies Club Mysteries, the Abigail Dutcher Mysteries, the Jazz & Gin Cozy Mysteries, and The Lillywhite Mysteries.

Murder on Valentine's Day by P. CreedenMurder on Valentine’s Day by P. Creeden:

It’s Valentine’s Day and 20-year-old Emma Wright just wants her crush to take notice of her. But Colby Davidson, the K9 search and rescue deputy only thinks of her as a kid sister. How will she get him to take her seriously?

When her veterinarian boss calls her to pick up a cat at a potential crime scene, she finds herself at the house of the richest woman in Ridgeway. Her father—the sheriff—and Colby are there. They both dismiss the untimely death as a heart attack, but Emma finds clues that it might be something more. Did the software billionaire die of natural causes, or was it murder?

The Valentine Mystery by Kathi DaleyThe Valentine Mystery by Kathi Daley:

If you love small towns, endearing relationships, food, animals, and a touch of murder, you will love this new mystery series by Kathi Daley, author of the popular Zoe Donovan Cozy Mystery Series.

It is Valentine’s Day in White Eagle Montana and Tess and Tilly are busier than ever delivering Valentine Cards along with the daily mail. Of course it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day in White Eagle without a mystery to solve or a holiday adoption party to prepare for.

When Tess happens upon a vehicle accident where one man dies, she gets pulled into a mystery with roots into the past. With Tony’s help she not only tracks down a killer but she looks into the occurrence of a missing person as well.

Tony is still looking into the case of Tess’s father’s disappearance, meanwhile Tess and Tilly team up with Brady to make sure that every animal shelter resident finds their perfect match in time for Valentine’s Day.

A Valentine Murder by Steven DemareeA Valentine Murder by Steven Demaree

In this delightful combination of a whodunit mixed with humor, a woman, who has been celebrating her birthday and Valentine’s Day, is rushed to the hospital complaining of stomach pains and nausea. She grabs the doctor and tells him she has been poisoned, but before she can tell him any more, she dies. When Lt. Dekker and Sgt. Murdock investigate, they find out that no one liked her, with the possible exception of her husband.

 

 

Corridor Man: Valentine by Mark FaricyCorridor Man: Valentine by Mark Faricy:

BETTER CHANGE THE LOCKS. BOBBY DID.

Disbarred attorney Bobby Custer continues to use his main skill set; murder, treachery and perversion in an ongoing effort to increase his personal gains.

Ever the charmer, Bobby provides Emily with an unforgettable valentine that up until now she could only dream about . . . or maybe it was a nightmare. Together they forever mark the day with a memorable secret. Psychotic, sociopathic, always charming– and you thought he was here to help.

Valentine by Celina GraceValentine by Celina Grace:

A respectable, middle-aged housewife. An ambitious young lawyer. A student burlesque dancer. Three women with nothing in common – except for the fact that someone has sent them a macabre Valentine’s Day gift; a pig’s heart pierced by an arrow.

Is this a case of serious harm intended? Or just a malicious prank? Detective Inspector Olbeck thinks there might be something more sinister behind it but his colleague Detective Sergeant Kate Redman is too busy mourning the departure of her partner Tin to New York to worry too much about the case. Until one of the women receives a death threat…

Valentine is a novella in the best-selling Kate Redman Mystery series by crime writer Celina Grace.

The Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi HolmesThe Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi Holmes:

A romantic weekend at Marlow House Bed and Breakfast turns deadly when Earthbound Spirits founder, Peter Morris, is murdered. Plenty of people had a reason to want the man dead—especially Danielle’s current guests.

But it isn’t Morris’ ghost distracting Danielle on this deadly Valentine’s Day weekend, it’s her late husband Lucas. She has her hands full with suitors coming from all directions—both living and dead—while she tries to figure out if there’s a killer in Marlow House.

 

Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia JaymesGhoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:

It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.

Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.

And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.

Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.

Lady Rample and Cupid's Kiss by Shéa MacLeodLady Rample and Cupid’s Kiss by Shéa MacLeod:

Just when Lady Rample has given up on love, a former flame reappears, bringing with him all sorts of emotions she thought buried. Unfortunately, that flame comes with one very aggressive and rather angry almost-ex-wife. The ensuing catfight is almost worth the price of admission.

When the ex-wife is found dead in Hyde Park, stabbed with a hatpin in the shape of a heart, the police naturally assume the killer is the husband. Our intrepid heroine is not about to allow her love to go down for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately, proving him innocent may put her own neck on the line.

Never one to shirk from danger, Lady R—with the help of her eccentric Aunt Butty—will need all her wits about her if she’s to solve the crimes of the Cupid Killer.

Enjoy the glitz and glamor of the 1930s with the sixth book in the popular 1930s historical mystery series, Lady Rample Mysteries.

Moonshine Valetnine by Tegan MaherMoonshine Valentine by Tegan Maher:

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Noelle has no idea what to get for Hunter. While she’s getting her hair cut and tossing around gift ideas, Coralee’s long-term boyfriend pops in and declares his undying love via a marriage proposal, breaking rule numero uno of their relationship clause.

He’s only the first to fall, though. When the men of Keyhole Lake start acting like lovesick lunatics, Noelle and Rae have to put their heads together to figure out what happened before the whole town goes loopy in love, or someone ends up in jail.

This story falls in between book 4, Murder and Mayhem, and Book 5, Murder and Marinade, in the Witches of Keyhole Lake Mystery Series.

Heart Attack by Terri MainHeart Attack by Terri Main:

When Smelling Roses, Watch Out for the Thorns

Strange things are happening in Armstrong City right before St. Valentine’s Day. Several women who found roses on their doorstep passed out inexplicably. Carolyn and Mike must figure out how this happened, who is doing it, and why?

A fun little mystery for the holiday of love.

 

Sweet Hearts by Connie SheltonSweet Heart by Connie Shelton:

Will there be Valentine wedding bells for Samantha Sweet and Beau Cardwell? (introduced in this mystery series opener Sweet Masterpiece) Sam’s bakery, Sweet’s Sweets is busier than ever this Valentine week, as she struggles to replicate the magical chocolate-making techniques of the enigmatic chocolatier who boosted her winter holiday sales into the stratosphere. However, candy classes take second place to a new mystery, when Sam meets a woman whose missing son’s case seems to have been dropped by the authorities. Marla Fresques learns that she is dying and needs for her son to come home and raise the daughter he left behind. Sam agrees to help, hoping that Sheriff Beau’s inside connections will bring about a quick and happy resolution.

But what about Sam’s and Beau’s own wedding plans? They may be in jeopardy when an entirely new development appears in the form of Beau’s ex-girlfriend who is determined to win him back.

With the familiar mix of mystery, romance and a touch of magic that has enchanted readers of this series, Sweet Hearts draws the reader even further into the captivating world of Samantha Sweet.

My Wicked Valentine by Lotta SmithMy Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.

Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

The Draed Arrow by Grigor WeeksThe Dread Arrow by Grigor Weeks:

Dark Space is strange, and so are the hitmen who live there. Strap in sweetheart. Love never hurt so good.

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine's Blizzard Murder by Linnea WestValentine’s Bizzard Mystery by Linnea West:

When a minor celebrity staying at the Shady Lake Bed and Breakfast dies of an allergic reaction during a blizzard, it doesn’t seem like it could get much worse. But was it really an accident?

Jake Crawford is a D list celebrity who loves to come back to Shady Lake to be the big fish in a small pond. This time, he brought his new wife back to Shady Lake for his honeymoon and they are staying at the bed and breakfast that Tessa Schmidt helps her family run. Jake is kind of a jerk, but then a blizzard hits and he dies of an allergic reaction. It seems like things couldn’t get any worse for a Valentine’s Day weekend. But Tessa is starting to suspect that the allergic reaction isn’t the horrible accident she had assumed.

As the blizzard stretches on and on, secrets keep coming out. It seems like almost everyone has a motive to kill Jake. Can Tessa figure out who wanted to kill Jake Crawford before the killer strikes again?

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A Science Fiction Promo and Richard Blakemore blogs

Blast Off with Sci Fi promo image

Today, I have two brief announcements to make. The first is an announcement for a science fiction cross promo at StoryOrigins.

What is StoryOrigins, you ask. StoryOrigins is a new service for free e-book giveaways. One of those is the Blast off with Sci Fi giveaway organised by C. Gockel.

You can get 18 science fiction e-books for free, including one of mine, if you enter your e-mail address and sign up for the respective authors’ newsletters. Just click the link below:

Blast off with Sci Fi
February 1 to March 17, 2019

***

In other news, Richard Blakemore, protagonist of the Silencer series, has started blogging.

How can he blog, when he’s fictional and lives in the 1930s, long before computers and blogs were a thing? Well, that’s the magic of the Internet.

You can find Richard’s blog here. So far, there isn’t a lot of content over there, just a brief introductory post as well as a repost of a “Meet My Character” feature about Richard I did in 2015, with some asides and comments from Richard himself (he wishes to make it very clear that he is not the Silencer). But there is more coming, since Richard just dipped his toes into the sword and sorcery waters.

Coincidentally, Richard Blakemore has also acquired an Amazon Author Central page, which was a lot more difficult to set up than I assumed, as well as a Books2Read page, which was a bit easier to set up.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for January 2019

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 authors newly published this month, though some December 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, military fantasy, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, science fiction romance, science fantasy, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, horror, witches, ghosts, dragons, demons, elves, mages, robots, necromancers, alien invasions, cosmic junkyards, space marines, alien warlords, prison planets, rogue AIs 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 Flood Dragon's Sacrifice by Sarah AshThe Flood Dragon’s Sacrifice by Sarah Ash:

Two rival clans. Two sacred pearls, the Tide Jewels, that can summon the Tide Dragons to protect the empire.

Two young men, Kaito and Naoki, one a Black Crane healer, the other a Red Kite shinobi, are sucked into an ancient, unresolved conflict between the gods of land and sea, when the exiled Red Kites steal the Tide Jewels and re-ignite a bitter clan war. Kaito must find a way to restore the emperor’s jewels – but how can it be done without betraying his own clan or angering the gods?

 

Bramble and Blood by Ashley BeasleyBramble and Blood by Ashley Beasley:

Welcome to St. Louis, home to mythological creatures, magic beings, and necromancer Eve Williams -expert on death and disappointment.

Especially disappointment since being fired from a prestigious job a with the Druid Brotherhood – the elite law enforcement of the magical community and the only family she’s ever known.

Now Eve’s left the magic community behind – except for her pain in the ass best friend who happens to be a witch – and she spends her time working for humans answering questions the faithfully departed left unanswered and avoiding the druids at all costs.

When a client asks for help to find a missing sister, Eve doesn’t see the harm in taking the unusual case – until her investigation uncovers the ritualistic murders of her fellow necromancers tied to the missing woman. Eve is reluctant to ask the druids for help but when an attempt is made on her own life, it forces her to work with the Druid’s Enforcer – a man who most in the magical community see as an assassin.

As onetime antagonists become hesitant allies while trying to find the killer, Eve finds herself knee-deep in sword-wielding druids, death magic, and psychotic witches.

Junkyard by Lindsay BurokerJunkyard by Lindsay Buroker:

McCall Richter works as a skip tracer, tracking down criminals, con men, and people who stop making payments on their fancy new spaceships.

Her job description says nothing about locating vast quantities of stolen maple syrup, but thanks to her helpful new android employee, she finds herself tramping through a “sugar house” on a frosty moon full of suspicious characters. The only witness to the crime? The junkyard dog next door.

Junkyard is a stand-alone novella set two years before Fractured Stars.

Shattered Prisons by D. Glenn CaseyShattered Prisons by D. Glenn Casey:

Julie is just an easy-going artist, who loves to paint pretty pictures and go for walks in the woods. Then, her grandmother dies and leaves her the house and she finds out there are secrets buried behind its walls.

Ripped out of a quiet life of art, she finds she is the centerpiece in a war that’s been going on since the beginning of time and like it or not, she is going to have to follow in her grandmother’s and mother’s footsteps. Whether or not she believes in other-worldly demons and evil, they believe in her and they will use any weapon they can to draw her out, including threatening those she loves.

Jump into the battle between good and evil with both feet and hold on. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Voice of Command by Melanie CellierVoice of Command by Melanie Cellier:

Elena has found the power in her voice—now she must decide how to use it

Finally accepted as a mage, Elena struggles with her commonborn roots. And when disaster strikes the kingdom, she can’t shrug off the death toll as the mageborn have always done. Yet the limitations of her spoken magic hold her back—both in saving lives among the people and in competitions in the Academy’s arena.

In desperation she turns to an unlikely source of assistance—Prince Lucas. But just as she begins to master her powers, she finds herself the pawn of stronger forces.

With everything she’s struggled for almost within her grasp, she must decide what—and who—is worth sacrificing to come into her full power and take her place among the mages.

Marine by Joshua DalzelleMarine by Joshua Dalzelle:

Aliens exist… and, as it turns out, most of them aren’t that friendly.

Jacob Brown wasn’t even born yet the first time they attacked Earth.
He was only fourteen the second time it happened.

When Earth finally came together and fielded its first spaceborne military, Jacob didn’t hesitate to volunteer. Serving aboard a mighty starship, he’d be able to defend his planet—and his family—when, inevitably, they came again.

Just as he’s about to graduate training, however, Jacob is approached by an officer from Naval Special Operation Command and given a choice: volunteer for a risky mission to a dangerous, lawless world, or give up his dream of serving in the military and go home. He has no idea why he’s being singled out in such an unusual manner, but now it’s either agree to their demands or give up his dream of being on a starship.

Soon, getting his career back on the right track will be the least of his concerns when it seems like everyone—and everything—he meets is trying to kill him. When he stumbles upon a secret most people on Earth are blissfully unaware of he realizes it’s not just the aliens he needs to be worried about.

Mindspace Infiltration by A.K. DuBoffMindspace: Infiltration by A.K. DuBoff

Prevent a stellar civil war… or die trying.

When Captain Kira Elsar comes face-to-face with a military assault mech inside a civilian research lab, it’s abundantly clear that MTech is up to no good.

Illegal alien nanotech experimentation. Clandestine political dealings. Disappearances. Connections all trace back to MTech’s newest research lab on Kira’s homeworld.

As the Tararian Guard’s sole telepath, Kira goes undercover to get to the bottom of the mystery. Hints point to a brewing stellar civil war, but she needs to gather proof. Except, the mysterious forces behind the conflict already have their own plans for Kira that will change her life forever.

Set in the internationally bestselling Cadicle space opera universe, the standalone Mindspace series is perfect for fans of sci-fi with superhuman abilities, political intrigue, military action, and devious aliens.

Destruction by M.R. ForbesDestruction by M.R. Forbes:

The Deliverance isn’t alone.

That’s not a surprise. The planet was chosen for a reason.

But the situation is more dire than Caleb ever imagined. The enemy he’s encountered isn’t the enemy he was seeking, and the conflict is expanding in ways he can barely conceive.

Taken prisoner by an opponent both familiar and foreign, he’ll have to prove himself one more time…

Or watch everything he’s fought so hard to protect be destroyed.

Destruction is the fourth book in the Forgotten Colony series.

The Demon Soul Invasion by C. GoldThe Demon Soul Invasion by C. Gold:

A summons gone very wrong, a demon lord bent on worldwide destruction, and a hated enemy turned temporary ally make this necromancer’s day a complete nightmare.

When a warlock calls asking for help, Marcus Blackmoor hangs up. After all, everyone knows the only good warlock is one who was never born. They murdered his parents, so this one can rot in prison where he belongs. But Marcus gets dragged into the investigation anyway since a soul needs interrogating and he’s the right necromancer for the job.

Except, all the souls have gone missing and there’s a terrible evil invading the spirit realm. It will take the combined help of his ghostly best friend, the warlock, and a kick butt fire mage to find the vengeful demon lord and banish him before he raises an army the likes of which has never been seen.

Touch of Eon by Anna HackettTouch of Eon by Anna Hackett:

She’ll do anything to free her sister and save the Earth from invasion, even if she’s blackmailed into stealing sacred alien artifacts…and becomes the prey of the dark, deadly warrior sent to hunt her down.

Special Forces Space Marine Lara Traynor wants to save her sister and her planet from annihilation by the deadly insectoid Kantos. Earth’s Space Corps give her one option: steal three gems sacred to the Eon Warriors. Lara has never failed a mission and she doesn’t plan to start now. What she doesn’t expect is the big, hard-bodied warrior the Eon sent to stop her.

Security Commander Caze Vann-Jad was born and raised to be the best Eon warrior in the empire. Honed by the military academy, his years as a stealth agent, and by his hard warrior father, he has never failed. He knows one weak, inferior Terran is no match for him. But when he finds himself face to face with the tough, skilled Lara, he realizes he’s underestimated the female warrior.

When they are attacked by a Kantos kill squad, it soon becomes clear that the Kantos are planning something far darker and dangerous. Caze and Lara are forced to change their dangerous battle of wits and skill into a fierce battle for survival. Neither of these fighters believe in love, but on the trail of a stolen gem, they will ignite an unstoppable desire, and discover that not only are their lives at stake, but their hearts as well.

The Serpent Waits by Bill HiattThe Serpent Waits by Bill Hiatt:

Amy Monroe’s journalistic instincts told her something was wrong in Santa Brígida. The town had too many strange disappearances, mental breakdowns, and bizarre weather patterns. Yet none of these anomalies got much press coverage, let alone serious investigation.

Planning to write a career-making expose, Amy goes to Santa Brígida undercover to find out the truth. She suspects clandestine scientific experiments, but from the moment a key source disappears—together with the motel in which she met him—she realizes that what’s really happening may be stranger than she could ever imagine.

Striving relentlessly to uncover secrets, Amy runs the risk of discovering the truth—that some secrets should stay buried.

No Man Can Tame by Miranda HonfleurNo Man Can Tame by Miranda Honfleur:

A human princess. A dark-elf prince. A kiss of fire and powder.

After a failed courtship in an ally kingdom, twenty-one-year-old Princess Alessandra returns home to a land torn apart by mutual hatred between the humans and the dark-elves. The “Beast Princess,” as Aless is known by courtiers, confidently sets her mind to ways of making peace, but her father has already decided for her: she is to marry one of the mysterious and monstrous dark-elves to forge a treaty, and go on a Royal Progress across the kingdom to flaunt their harmonious union. While she intends to preserve the peace, the Beast Princess has plans of her own.

Prince Veron has been raised knowing his life is not his own, but to be bargained away by his mother, the queen of Nozva Rozkveta, to strengthen the dark-elf queendom. When his mother tells him he is to marry a self-absorbed, vile human, he is determined to do his duty regardless of his personal feelings. After arriving at the human capital, he finds the “Beast Princess” rebellious and untamed—and not to be trusted.

Aless and Veron face opposition at every turn, with humans and dark-elves alike opposing the union violently, as well as their own feelings of dissonance toward each other. Can two people from cultures that despise one another fall in love? Can a marriage between them bond two opposing worlds together, or will it tear them apart for good?

Peace Maker by Isaac HookePeace Maker by Isaac Hooke:

Jain, a former SEAL whose mind is now the AI core of an advanced alien warship, has agreed to broker peace between humanity and the extraterrestrial race known as the Mimics.

Unfortunately, a new breed of alien has decided to crash the party. These newcomers, part of the hostile Link empire, aren’t very happy humanity is trying to coax a former member species into signing a treaty.

Jain and the Void Warriors have to fight off this new threat while struggling to salvage the smoldering ruins of the peace talks. Things certainly don’t look good, not just for themselves, but humanity: if they can’t secure allies against the Link, Earth will eventually be crushed.

Some days, having your mind stored in the AI core of a starship just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Rift by Nathan HystadRift by Nathan Hystad:

They’ve watched us for centuries through the Rift.

They’ve prepared.

Invasion is inevitable.

The Earth Fleet has known of the Watchers for years, unwilling to share the knowledge with humanity. Now it might be too late.

Hidden away from the Fleet, one man is creating a new colony ship destined for the other side of the Rift, but he’s missing a few pieces.

Three other people have varied paths to get there. Ace goes from the streets of Earth to the Fleet training facility on the moon. Flint, an ex-Fleet pilot, must decide if a job is worth his life, and Wren, imprisoned for a secret project years ago, is given hope as an unlikely ally whispers words of escape in her ear.

Their journeys lead to Councilman Jarden Fairbanks, who knows of the impending invasion, and has prepared. All they can do is wait for the Rift to open once again, and see what’s on the other side.

Rift joins an ensemble cast facing immeasurable obstacles. If you enjoy space battles, prison breaks, androids, and aliens, buried under a shroud of mystery, this book is for you. Try it today!

Not an Elf by Madeline KirbyNot an Elf by Madeline Kirby:

It’s Jake and Boo’s first Christmas together, and they’re heading to Waxahachie to spend it with Petreski’s family. As if meeting your boyfriend’s parents isn’t nerve-wracking enough, there’s also a mob of siblings, a town full of gossips, trouble with a holiday display, and someone’s been sending poison pen letters to the local priest. Oh, and the pie is a bit of a disappointment.

In a house full of Cats, the nights are anything but silent, and it’s not long before Jake is convinced the Petreski family home is haunted. The truth, though, may be even stranger.

Who said small town life was boring?

Now with extra chocolate and nuts! And an elf.

Game Changers of the ApocalypseGame Changers of the Apocalypse by Mark Kirkbride:

It’s always the end of the world when you break up with someone. This time it really is… Everyone on the planet has mysteriously disappeared, leaving exes Greg and Polly. They’ve survived the apocalypse, yet shouldn’t have. Battling each other and a malevolent entity that teases them with their fate, how long can they remain ahead? Even more terrifying than everyone else on the planet disappearing is what’s about to take their place…

 

Kragyn by Clarissa LakeKragyn by Clarissa Lake:

The war was over, yet the Sargans came and bombed his world to ruin…

They stole his life by making him a slave, but Kragyn Vermaktu was no slave!
He was a Farseek Warrior. His rebellion landed him on Julconi Prison Planet…
No guards, no rules…

A place where strength meant survival…

Stolen from Earth, sold as a slave Reanne Winter is forced to kill or be killed…
Earning her a one-way trip to Julconi…
Terrified by a mob of males outside the gate, she was sure she would be raped and killed before the day ended…

Enter Kragyn…

He calls her solmatu and offers to get her to safety.
A shock of attraction flashes between them as soon as they touch…

She knows she won’t get a better offer.

Can the passion that burns between them grow into the legendary solmatu bond?

Or is it just a symbiotic relationship born of the need to survive?

Freaky Deaky Tiki by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Deaky Tiki by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is learning about life, love … and being a witch.She has a hot and hunky boyfriend, new friends, and family she didn’t know existed until recently.Her plate is full.Life gets even busier when a Detroit grim reaper named Aisling Grimlock hits Moonstone Bay for her honeymoon. Aisling is loud, brash … and pregnant. Unfortunately, she’s not one of those women who gets happy and develops a glow at the notion of a new baby.When a body turns up on the docks, Hadley decides to help her boyfriend Galen investigate. All she knows for certain is that the murder looks ritual thanks to the tiki mask left behind … and the gaping wound in his chest.Since she’s bored and limited, Aisling latches on to Hadley and volunteers to help. That means zipping around the island and investigating the local cult that lives in the forest.Aisling has specific ideas about what should be done. Hadley has her own ideas. And Galen wants them both to steer clear of his investigation.Things are bound to collide … and they do in spectacular fashion.What happens when Detroit’s mouthiest reaper and Moonstone Bay’s newest witch collide? You’re about to find out.The stakes are high, death is in the air … and a few more secrets are about to be unveiled. Strap in, because things are about to get freaky.

Company of Strangers by Melissa McShaneCompany of Strangers by Melissa McShane:

The wizard Sienne hopes to make a name for herself as a scrapper—someone who scours the ruins of the Empty Lands for treasure and lost magical artifacts. But first she must find someone willing to take a chance on a desperate beginner.

When Sienne finally catches a break, she becomes part of a ragtag group of adventurers—a desperate scrapper named Dianthe, her wizard-hating partner Alaric, the drunk priest Perrin, and a young fighter named Kalanath.

But finding the treasure proves only the beginning. They must learn to work together as a team. Their very survival may depend on it.

An epic adventure of daring quests, second chances, and the power of friendship.

Realm Source by Vincent B. MoneymakerRealm Source by Vincent B. Moneymaker:

Are there places beyond heaven and depths below hell? Explore the boundaries of existence by travelling worlds beyond measure in a story beyond belief where universes are born and die but a father’s love for his child lasts forever.

 

 

 

 

War-Sworn by Aaaron D. SchneiderWar-Sworn by Aaron D. Schneider:

Broken people with sharp edges can carve their own destiny.

Luce isn’t just hurt, he’s broken and he’s not alone.

The Twilit Kingdom is in flames as the Gythraul Legions play out their death throes across the vulnerable countryside, while Queen Meabh turns her attentions to dissidents at Mount Falchrreg. An ancient and long-absent power returns––shaken and confused––while an elder evil seeks to realize an apocalyptic vision.

Luce still hasn’t picked up all the pieces, but Armageddon waits for no man, so its back into the meat-grinder with his ragtag crew. They’ve got gambits to dare, prophecies to fulfill, and sacrifices to make, with nothing but blood and fire ahead.

The fate of more than just the Twilit Kingdom hangs in the the balance, and Lieutenant Bollham is still grasping at the veil that hides the most terrible truths which underpin the erupting conflict. The truth, so long hidden, is about to ignite a fire that could burn all of Other-Realm to cinders and holocaust shadows. Times are desperate like never before and Luce is going to have to make some unlikely friends and even that might not be enough to save a world that isn’t even his own.

But you know what they say: what doesn’t kill you, only delays the inevitable.

Validated by Valentine's by Joynll SchultzValidated by Valentine’s by Joynell Schultz:

Ivory has the perfect man, from his microchip processor to his flesh-like exterior.

Ivory hated that she loved her Christmas gift this year. Her sister gave her the perfect humanoid companion, but there’s just one problem: he’ll never be able to say he loves her, no matter how much Ivory falls in love with him.

Was her dream man a present or a curse?

But when Ethan (Ivory’s Dream Droid) looks at her with those sweet blue eyes and secretly earns enough money to enter her in the city-wide bake-off, she realizes she doesn’t care. He’s hers. And that’s the best gift of all.

Ivory’s perfect world falls apart the closer she gets to the bake-off. It starts with a lost entry and Ethan having a few programming malfunctions, then she discovers someone’s deliberately sabotaging her. What started out to be a dream Valentine’s day, begins to turn into a nightmare. A large supportive family, a caring artificial companion, and the best cupcake recipe in the world might not be enough to uncover who’s setting Ivory up to fail.

Barriers by Patrick SkeltonBarriers by Patrick Skelton:

Nathan Gallagher’s life on post-solar-flare Earth just took a turn for the worse.

Barrier Administration has ordered his quadriplegic son to be euthanized at a hospital deep in the solar badlands. Nathan’s only hope is his father, a brilliant aerospace engineer working on an experimental device that would enable Ian to walk again. Only healthy individuals can remain citizens of Barrier cities, and his father’s invention would grant Ian the right to live and re-enter the safe confines of the Barriers.

There’s just one problem: Nathan’s father is missing.
Can Nathan locate him even while the government watches his every step? And if he does find his father in time, can he really help?

BARRIERS is a sci-fi thriller set in a dystopian future where Earth is under siege by the sun. The powers that be decide who gets protection under the Barriers…and who doesn’t.

Jane Bond by V.R. TapscottJane Bond by V.R. Tapscott:

Jane Bond was just a simple elementary school librarian.

But then her life got sidetracked by digging up the AI Pilot of a 140 million year old spacecraft.

Now, she’s running all over the world looking for spaceship parts, falling in and out of love and trying to keep her friends from thinking she’s crazy. Not only that, but the ship she’s helping to recover starts sounding more like the Death Star than the Millennium Falcon.

When did life get so complicated?

A fun read with Bond-style gadgets, action, adventure, an alien intelligence for a sidekick and a little romance thrown in for good measure.

Neron Skies by Kerry TaylorNeron Skies by Kerry Taylor:

Dominion has Nova’s face and Reena’s name—Cyrillius will use and kill them if they’re caught. But being on the run in space isn’t so bad, Nova’s always wanted a different life, and she’s got it now.

It started with a rumor, that the Bahiri still exist—peaceful worshipers of the Nero and Neron. After what happened on Korpillion, Valen told Nova to find them, and to stay away from him. So that’s where the wanted crew aboard The Corsair is headed, across the entire galaxy to the G sector. Nova wants answers about what she did and how it’s possible.

She’s in denial. About what she might be. About where her heart lies. She knows Valen Nero is a bad man, so why is he the only one who fills the hollowness in her chest? Why does she ask him to keep his promise: I will come for you, Nova. And when he does, she’ll learn the truth about him, and what happened to shape him into the man he is today.

A.I. Apocalypse by James David VictorA.I. Apocalypse by James David Victor:

One rogue Artificial Intelligence to rule us all

Captain Eliard Martin has found himself in an alternate universe ruled by Armcore’s rogue artificial intelligence. Eliard and his alternate crew must take back the galaxy and return things to normal or humanity will never be the same. Can he change the past to save the future?

A. I. Apocalypse is the eighth book in the exciting Valyien series. If you like fast-paced space adventure, the rogue crew of the Mercury Blade will keep you entertained for hours.

Imperius Wrecks by A.E. WilliamsImperius Wrecks by A.E. Williams:

A Satirical Peek at the Future

What does our future hold?

If the recent turmoil in the United States is any indication, the outlook is possibly grim.

This short-story by acclaimed science fiction author and raconteur A.E. Williams explores one possible outcome.

Williams puts his redoubtable wit to the task of describing just what we’re up against, from a potential oligarchy, to the devastation of Earth from global warming, surgical nuclear strikes and the sheer ego of one man.

This modern parable of political will drags you kicking and screaming into your worst nightmare – or, perhaps, your ultimate fantasy.

You will be stunned, then shocked, then awestruck at how possible this scenario seems.

Qunatum Contingency by R.K. YoungQuantum Contingency by R.K. Young:

Few possessions are worth risking your life over, but she’ll roll the dice for her space freighter.

Andromeda “Mia” Spire lost her late father’s ship—and her home—in a dirty game of pulsar poker, and now she’s pulling out all the stops to get it back. But her pay sucks, and there’s no way in all the stinking swamps of Mandoorum that she’ll have the money in time to save it. The loan sharks will tear it apart for scrap. And she’ll be next.

Enter Toras Zaru, an eccentric hermit with too much money and a unique collection that’s missing an important element. He’s paying big bucks for someone to fly across the galaxy and face almost-certain death to get it. The payout would solve all her problems—except another crew has beaten her to the punch.

Luckily for Mia, Zaru thinks she’s got the skills they need to get the job done. If she’s willing to help the crew, they’re willing to give her a lift and a share in the profits. But after years of fending for herself, Mia isn’t much of a team player. If she wants her father’s ship back, she’ll have to learn to trust the crew, or risk being thrown out of the nearest airlock.

And that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for January 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some December 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.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have plenty of cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, craft mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, 1920s mysteries, Civil War mysteries, Medieval mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, action thrillers, historical thrillers, pulp thrillers, horror thrillers, police procedurals, romantic suspense, private investigators, amateur sleuths, stalkers, serial killers, axe murderers, assassins, vigilantes, forgers, lawyers, blackmailers, troubled priests, slaves and those who hunt them, crime-busting witches, crime-busting cats, crime-busting geneologists, crime-busting literary agents, missing mistresses, overweight detectives, murder on the seaside, in country manors and in small towns, in Chicago, New Orleans, Upstate New York, Paris and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime 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:

Murder in the Shallows by Beth ByersMurder in the Shallows by Beth Byers:

Violet and Jack go for a simple day on the water. They little expect their day of sun and fun to end with finding a body in the water.

The mystery of what happened to the young man in the shallows posses them both, and they unite in their desire to find out more. Will they be able to discover why Jack’s one-time friend was killed? Who would have done this and why?

 

 

North Country Girl by Anthony DeCastroNorth Country Girl by Anthony DeCastro:

Voices from the past are best left there.

Myrtle Beach PI Fuzzy Koella knows this better than anyone.

But when his old teammate Jo Jo Bigtree calls about a young vagabond accused of murdering a nun, Fuzzy doesn’t heed that advice.

In the frigid landscape of Upstate New York, Fuzzy finds a town with a penchant for violence and dark secrets. An abusive high school hockey coach. A Voodoo doctor. A corrupt Tribal Sheriff. Even his own friend and the good Sister, herself.

As the temperature drops and the body count rises, Fuzzy questions the wisdom of sticking around to catch another bullet. Or worse, freezing to death. But a scared kid sits in jail that nobody seems to care about except Fuzzy.

Fuzzy Koella returns in his second, exciting adventure. If you love witty detective novels with a dose of hard-boiled action, you won’t want to miss North Country Girl.

Damned by Jana DeLeonDamned by Jana DeLeon:

When young priest Nicolas Chatry took his vows, he thought the hardest thing he’d have to deal with was accomplishing his duties from a wheelchair. Until a murderer steps into the confessional. Unable to recognize the voice or maneuver quickly enough to get a look at the killer, Nicolas has no way of identifying who admitted to such a horrific deed. And even if he did, his vows prevent him from telling anyone about it.

Unable to live with the knowledge that a predator is walking the streets of New Orleans, Nicolas breaks his vows and hires Shaye to do the impossible—find the killer before he strikes again.

The Missing Mistress by Thomas FinchamThe Missing Mistress by Thomas Fincham:

What happened to Lana Anderson?

One beautiful morning, David Becker, a respected lawyer, jumps off an overpass and onto incoming traffic. Detective Dana Fisher and Detective Greg Holt are tasked to find out why Becker decided to kill himself in such a public manner. Before they could begin their investigation, Fisher is pulled away from the case. Her brother, Casey, is in trouble and he needs her help.

Private Investigator Lee Callaway will finally get to spend the entire day with his daughter, Nina. But when Callaway finds out who the jumper is, he has no choice but to begin his own investigation.

To solve the mystery of Becker’s death, Callaway must find someone who has seemingly vanished into thin air.

I Blackmailed Her Brother by Jessica FrancesI Blackmailed Her Brother by Jessica Frances:

I blackmailed her brother, so she took my heart and held it ransom.

I made a mistake.
I did something unforgiveable.
I broke her trust.
I shattered the life we were building together.
And I hate myself for the pain I caused her.
But then someone thought they could threaten her,
Thought they could come after the woman I love.
They need to think again.
I am stronger than I have ever been before.
I am determined to win her back,
And no one is getting in my way.
Not our friends.
Not her family.
And definitely not the crazy maniac who is after her.
I will protect her.
I will salvage what we had,
And I will make us stronger because of it.
Not every relationship can be built on solid ground,
And maybe betrayal and blackmail might not make for a great foundation,
But then again, as some people say: there is nothing quite like love at first … crime.

The Asylum by Nathan Dylan GoodwinThe Asylum by Nathan Dylan Goodwin:

The job presented to forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier, ought to have been simple and easy. But the surprise discovery of an additional marriage to his client’s father leads Morton on an enquiry, revolving around a mysterious death in the county asylum. Requiring his various investigative genealogical skills, Morton must work to unravel this complex eighty-year-old secret and finally reveal the truth to his client.

This is the first story in the Morton Farrier genealogical crime mystery series.

The Fat Detective by Christian HayesThe Fat Detective by Christian Hayes:

Private Detective For Hire. No Previous Experience.

Eugene Blake’s quit his job to become an old-fashioned private eye. He’s got everything he needs: a 1940s raincoat, a detective’s notebook and a little clicky pen.

When he meets the mysterious Melissa White she takes his breath away. Tasked with finding her missing husband, Eugene is drawn into the shadowy underworld of London and has to solve the dangerous puzzle of his very first case.

Once he’s been chased, punched and shot at, he wonders whether he should have stuck to his day job.

If you like your novels hardboiled you will love this funny, thrilling and very British twist on the private detective genre. The Fat Detective is the first book in the Eugene Blake trilogy by London novelist Christian Hayes.

Lie Like a Rug by Donna Huston MurrayLie Like a Rug by Donna Huston Murray:

While escorting Bryn Derwyn Academy’s most infamous student downtown to be scared straight by a Federal judge, Ginger Barnes is shocked to find her childhood babysitter, textile professor Charlie Finnemeyer, on trial for fraudulently aging an Oriental rug. Even more alarming, Gin learns that two witnesses against her beloved “Uncle Wunk” suffered suspiciously convenient heart attacks.

Eager to assist the professor’s attorney, the veteran amateur sleuth pries secret information from a university president and uncovers past transgressions of a TV craft show host—all while acquiring an overnight education in early American textiles from experts at Winterthur and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Others guilty of questionable behavior: two antique dealers, and Charlie’s overprotective wife.

Still, damning evidence can’t be swept under a rug. Before Gin can persuade anyone else that Charlie is innocent, she must first convince herself.

A Dead Market by CeeCee JamesA Dead Market by CeeCee James:

Stella O’Neil finally has her first listing! A cute cabin with a gorgeous lake on eighty acres of breathtaking land. There’s just one tiny problem: the body floating in the lake.

If that weren’t unsettling enough, her phone rings off the hook with hundreds of potential buyers. In fact, the property is overrun with them! Stella digs out the truth that the lake is the obscure clue in an old legend that has been solved on the Internet.

But if only her troubles stopped there. She runs into one buyer who won’t take no for an answer. He seems to have way too much personal information about Stella herself, but the police refuse to take the threat seriously. As mishaps continue to develop, she is certain that she being hunted by someone with some sort of grudge against her.

Stella has to solve the murder and figure out the riddle so she can untangle herself from this legal and personal mess… before things go too far.

Billette Hall by D.L. JonesBillette Hall by D.L. Jones:

Southern United States of America, 1858.

A slave auction goes wrong leaving a group of slaves, that were meant to be sold to Billette Hall, in the hands of a cruel slave master. That sale left slaves separated from their loved ones and family members. Marion’s life changes when Master Jesse of Billette Hall Plantation summons her into his quarters for an important task. She must sneak into the auction grounds and help the displaced slaves escape. Those slaves are to be brought safely to Billette Hall.

Armed with a Revolver and a single shot, Marion, the 15-year-old slave girl, must lead the displaced slaves on a 4-day trek through the wilderness to safety. The trek is harrowing and filled with danger as they are forced to avoid bounty hunters, slave catchers and their dogs.

Making matters worse, Marion and the rest of the escaped slaves soon discover that there are nightmares more frightening than the slavers. They are being hunted! A strange unknown man, covered in mud and wielding an axe, stalks them. Everyone who has crossed his path is dead. Marion and her tiny group of frightened men and women will suffer the same fate unless they can rise above their fear.

Billette Hall is the horrifyingly new American Slavery thriller by DL Jones

A Literal Mess by J.C. KenneyA Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney:

The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

Not an Elf by Madeline KirbyNot an Elf by Madeline Kirby:

It’s Jake and Boo’s first Christmas together, and they’re heading to Waxahachie to spend it with Petreski’s family. As if meeting your boyfriend’s parents isn’t nerve-wracking enough, there’s also a mob of siblings, a town full of gossips, trouble with a holiday display, and someone’s been sending poison pen letters to the local priest. Oh, and the pie is a bit of a disappointment.

In a house full of Cats, the nights are anything but silent, and it’s not long before Jake is convinced the Petreski family home is haunted. The truth, though, may be even stranger.

Who said small town life was boring?

Now with extra chocolate and nuts! And an elf.

Freaky Deaky Tiki by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Deaky Tiki by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is learning about life, love … and being a witch.She has a hot and hunky boyfriend, new friends, and family she didn’t know existed until recently.Her plate is full.Life gets even busier when a Detroit grim reaper named Aisling Grimlock hits Moonstone Bay for her honeymoon. Aisling is loud, brash … and pregnant. Unfortunately, she’s not one of those women who gets happy and develops a glow at the notion of a new baby.When a body turns up on the docks, Hadley decides to help her boyfriend Galen investigate. All she knows for certain is that the murder looks ritual thanks to the tiki mask left behind … and the gaping wound in his chest.Since she’s bored and limited, Aisling latches on to Hadley and volunteers to help. That means zipping around the island and investigating the local cult that lives in the forest.Aisling has specific ideas about what should be done. Hadley has her own ideas. And Galen wants them both to steer clear of his investigation.Things are bound to collide … and they do in spectacular fashion.What happens when Detroit’s mouthiest reaper and Moonstone Bay’s newest witch collide? You’re about to find out.The stakes are high, death is in the air … and a few more secrets are about to be unveiled. Strap in, because things are about to get freaky.

The Charming Man by Lisa M. LillyThe Charming Man by Lisa M. Lilly:

A blizzard rages. A young woman goes missing. A killer hides in the dark corners of an aging apartment complex.

As Chicago’s worst blizzard on record rages, a close friend asks Quille to help find a missing young woman.

The search takes Quille to River City, an aging apartment complex once seen as the cutting edge of Chicago architecture. When a well-known former resident is killed, downed power lines and multi-car pileups block police from reaching the building.

To prevent more deaths and find the missing woman before it’s too late, Quille must track the killer herself….

Assassin by Eugene Lloyd MacRaeAssassin by Eugene Lloyd MacRae:

When those close to Merlin Arthur Dragon become targets of an assassin, he immediately springs into action, throwing caution to the wind to hunt down the perpetrator. But Interpol’s Stopper soon finds himself the target of a massive manhunt by his own organization. How did things become twisted so quickly? And why? What – and who – is behind the French Gendarmerie Nationale threatening to hunt him down and kill him? Unless Merlin can find the truth to those questions, death will be the final answer.

 

Until Proven Guilty by Rachel SinclairUntil Proven Guilty by Rachel Sinclair:

Damien’s back! And this time, the murder case hits way too close to home.

Damien’s mother, Olivia, is being charged with murder. At first glance, Damien thinks that the murder charge is flimsy at best. Olivia’s friend, Dr. Tracy Dunham, died at her home of an apparent drug overdose. Olivia insists that she was simply sitting in her home, minding her own business, when Dr. Dunham came over to crash on her couch. She found him dead the next day.

The prosecutor’s office, however, charges Olivia with murder. Their accusation is that Olivia gave Dr. Dunham a deadly dose of pure heroin, which is what killed him.

As Damien gets further into the case, he finds that nothing is what it seems. Somebody apparently wanted Dr. Dunham dead – but who? And why? Damien discovers the shocking conspiracy that is truly behind the man’s death, but he finds himself in a race against time to find the evidence to prove his mother’s innocence. If he can’t get to bottom of who wanted Dr. Dunham dead, then his mother will go to prison for the rest of her life.

True, he doesn’t get along with his foul-mouthed, drunk mother, but she’s still his mother.

In the meantime, he also has to deal with a son, Nate, who is on the brink. Nate is slipping away, and Damien feels helpless to stop his son’s destruction. Can he save him in time?

Murder in Broadstowe Manor by Jason VailMurder at Broadstowe Manor by Jason Vail:

The adherents of Simon de Montfort from Herefordshire gather at Hereford Castle to select the county’s delegates to a Parliament Montfort has summoned in order to solidify his control of the kingdom. But the celebrations are interrupted when one of those put forward as a delegate, Sir Rogier FitzHerbert, is found hanged in his locked bedchamber alongside the body of a young man.The new coroner for the county rules the deaths a murder-suicide.But there are those who doubt that FitzHerbert could have murdered the young man and then hanged himself. And one of those faithful to the dead lord engages Stephen Attebrook to prove this was no suicide, but the cold-blooded murder of both.What looks like a routine murder inquiry, however, draws Stephen and his friends Gilbert Wistwode and Harry the carver into the game of shadows, for Montfort had sent the dead lord on a mission to the Welsh, bearing a letter with Montfort’s proposals for a secret alliance. Men would kill to get that letter, which went missing upon FitzHerbert’s death. Stephen finds himself in pursuit of that letter, for it seems to hold the key to the mystery.Stephen’s troubles pile up by leaps and bounds for he must dodge deputies sent after him by Sheriff Percival FitzAllan, who accuses Stephen of murder himself, and he delves deeply into Hereford’s underworld where death lurks in every alley and byway in his search for the truth. Murder at Broadstowe Manor is Stephen Attebrook’s most desperate adventure yet, for his life and fortune are at stake with his every step.

Louisa's Legacy by Rachel WrightLouisa’s Legacy by Rachel Wright:

When Maja Larsson learns that her father was murdered on a remote Pacific island eight years earlier, she embarks on a journey with lawyer Will Brownlie to find out what happened. It soon becomes clear that someone is trying to cover up the real story and as Will investigates, he realises their lives are in immediate danger. Jack Clayman, a skilled black-hat hacker, will stop at nothing to protect his secret, including killing anyone who gets too close.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for December 2018

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 authors newly published this month, though some November 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, cozy fantasy, grimdark fantasy, military fantasy, children’s fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, science fiction romance, science fantasy, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, LitRPG, sword and sorcery, horror, non-fiction, time travel, a lot of holiday stories, vampires, witches, ghosts, dragons, robots, asteroid miners, space pirates, alien invasions, airships, enchanted swords, Krampuses, mermaids, tech mages, enslaved princes, valkyries 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:

Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel AaaronMinimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron:

The DFZ, the metropolis formerly known as Detroit, is the world’s most magical city with a population of nine million and zero public safety laws. That’s a lot of mages, cybernetically enhanced chrome heads, and mythical beasties who die, get into debt, and otherwise fail to pay their rent. When they can’t pay their bills, their stuff gets sold to the highest bidder to cover the tab.

That’s when they call me. My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m a Cleaner: a freelance mage with an art history degree who’s employed by the DFZ to sort through the mountains of magical junk people leave behind. It’s not a pretty job, or a safe one–there’s a reason I wear bite-proof gloves–but when you’re deep in debt in a city where gods are real, dragons are traffic hazards, and buildings move around on their own, you don’t get to be picky about where your money comes from. You just have to make it work, even when the only thing of value in your latest repossessed apartment is the dead body of the mage who used to live there.

Fringe Legacy by Rachel AukesFringe Legacy by Rachel Aukes:

It’s a new age of heroes and sacrifices.

The colonies won their independence.
But they are not at peace.

New enemies come at the fragile Alliance of Free Colonies. Assassination attempts. Kidnappings. Murder.
When Aramis Reyne is nearly killed, he turns the tables and hunts the hunters. He learns things are not as they seem. When Critch disappears, he must make an impossible rescue.

If Reyne fails, the Alliance will fall. War will claim the colonies once again.
The race is on and time is running out.

Flights of Fancy: The Great Atlantic Run by Cameron Jon BernhardFlights of Fancy: The Great Atlantic Run by Cameron Jon Bernhard:

Join Captain Fancy and the crew of the Persephone as they take to the clouds in this riveting steampunk adventure.

The Great Atlantic Run is more than a passport to high-flying thrills and excitement; it’s a perilous two-day marathon over the ocean, where only the fast and strong survive. In a journey fraught with air pirates, rough weather and international spies, the risks are sky-high. The rewards, fame and fortune.

Take off on the voyage of a lifetime as you explore a grand world of flying ships, steam-powered machines, and incredible characters. Flights of Fancy is a fast-paced, unforgettable yarn as limitless and unpredictable as imagination itself.

The Bakery on Gloomland Street by Cora BuhlertThe Bakery on Gloomland Street by Cora Buhlert:

A legendary monster threatens Christmas…

It’s Christmas time in the permanently fog-shrouded seaside town of Hallowind Cove, which is also known as the “Harbour of the Weird”.

Rachel Hammersmith is new to Hallowind Cove and has recently taken over the bakery on Gloomland Street, after Marie Percht, the previous owner, retired.

However, Marie Percht didn’t tell Rachel everything, when she retired. She didn’t mention the fog, for starters, and she also didn’t mention that her bakery plays a vital role during the Christmas season and not just as a provider of holiday cookies either.

For the Krampus, a yuletide monster from alpine folklore, is coming to Hallowind Cove. And the only thing that can keep him from wrecking the town and ruining Christmas are pastries baked according to a secret recipe. Unfortunately, Rachel has no idea what the recipe is.

However, with the help of fellow newcomer Paul MacQuarie, Rachel will bake up a storm to pacify Krampus and save Christmas.

The Mermaid of Foghorn Point by Cora BuhlertThe Mermaid of Foghorn Point by Cora Buhlert:

The catch of the day at the Croaking Foghorn is not at all as expected…

Strange things keep happening in the permanently fog-shrouded seaside town of Hallowind Cove, earning it the nickname “Harbour of the Weird”.

Paul and Rachel’s date at The Croaking Foghorn pub is derailed, when it turns out that local fisherman Eddie Bramwell brought home no fish, but one hell of a story.

But Paul has one hell of a story of his own to tell and he’s not at all sure how Rachel will react.

This is a short story of 3400 words or approximately 12 pages in the Hallowind Cove series, but may be read as a standalone.

The Standarounds of Twilight Gardens by Cora BuhlertThe Standarounds of Twilight Gardens by Cora Buhlert:

Sinister shadows menace a family…

Strange things keep happening in the quirky little seaside town of Hallowind Cove, earning it the nickname “Harbour of the Weird”.

When the Hutchinson family buy the beautiful Beauregard mansion on Gloomland Street, they believe they’ve made the deal of a lifetime.

But unfortunately, no one told them about the fog that envelops Hallowind Cove for three hundred and forty days a year. Or about the mysterious shadows that stand around Twilight Gardens, staring at random houses…

This is a short story of 3300 words or approximately 14 pages in the Hallowind Cove series, but may be read as a standalone.

Dragon Tear by Lindsay BurokerDragon Tear by Lindsay Buroker:

Now that Jev is no longer obligated to marry a manipulative noblewoman, Zenia can finally pursue a relationship with him. But there’s something else she must deal with first. She’s learned that the magical dragon-tear gem she wears around her neck is linked to a living dragon, one that is being held prisoner and tortured.

Zenia owes her life several times over to the creature. She must set aside personal desires and lead a team to the distant and dangerous continent where the dragon is imprisoned.

But it took someone—or something—very powerful to capture such a great creature in the first place. Zenia, Jev, and their friends may not have the magic or might necessary to free their scaled ally. If they fail, the dragon will be enslaved forever by a cruel master, and Zenia and Jev may never see their homeland again.

Darker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W. CainDarker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W. Cain:

This collection of dark speculative tales will lead the reader on a roller coaster ride through the unknown, where things aren’t always what they seem.

Now that you’ve warmed by the embers, submerse in darker days.

The author of the short story collections These Old Tales, Fresh Cut Tales, and Embers presents Darker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction. In his youth Cain developed a sense of wonderment owed in part to TV shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Now Cain seeks the same dark overtones in his writing.

There’s a little something for every reader within this collection. These 26 short speculative stories arise from a void, escaping shadows that ebb and weave through minds like worms, planting the larvae that live just under the skin, thriving upon fear. These are Cain’s darker days.

In this collection, Cain features stories from the Old West, of past lives and future days, the living and the dead, new and unique monsters as well as fresh takes on those of lore. Once more he tackles themes of loss and grief and the afterlife, always exploring the greater unknown. In “The Sanguine Wars,” Cain takes us to a future war where soldiers are made to endure the horrors of war. He explores the complexities of global warming and what lengths men and women alike sink to in “The Reassignment Project.” And, as often is the case, he ends on a lighter note, with “Lenny’s New Eyes” and “A Very Different Sort of Apocalypse.”

When the darkness comes, embrace it. Let it wrap you up in cold. Don’t worry, it’s not your time…yet.

Lasso by Mike CovilleLasso by Mike Coville:

A suspicious accident, a prized asteroid, and a game of politics to decide who rules the galaxy. Someone’s making a power play, but who?

Captain Greg Daniels of the DSM Boone is a handful of asteroids away from retiring when his plans are threatened by an explosion on his ship. With the risk of another more lethal attack, Greg must locate the source of the explosion or he’ll lose more than the priceless rock he just obtained – he’ll lose his life.

On the Lunar Community, Final Frontier Mining Director David Rivera has his sights set on become Prime Minister of the ISC. His hopes rest on ace miner, Daniels, bringing in the most profitable asteroid in the company’s history to keep himself in the spotlight. But when he discovers a conspiracy to destroy his company and put a stop to his political aspirations, David must hunt down his mysterious hacker while trying to save Greg, DSM Boone, and the asteroid it has secured.

One man fights for survival in deep space, another on the moon, but is there someone else pulling the strings of both? Only if they can work together, will they find the answers they need to survive.

Hunter's Terminus by Timothy EllisHunter’s Terminus by Timothy Ellis:

Tech and Magic must come together to survive!

Jon Hunter thinks he’s done enough. But since when did he get any say in the matter?

15,000 people, 4 main stations, and 15 large ships, somewhere in the galaxy, unexpectedly looking for a new start.

Jon sees himself as their protector, at least until his people build their own new society, without him in charge.

Thorn has been waiting for Jon Hunter for 82 years.

3100 years ago, Thorn had to save humanity. One week ago, Jon did save humanity. Just different groups.
Both have done the impossible. Both are tired. Both want out.

But in a galaxy newly restored to an older and much more dangerous configuration, just how much rest can either of these men get?

Especially when the three powers in the galaxy don’t want a fourth.

Is the galaxy’s crossroad, Hunter’s Terminus?

Krox Rises by Chris FoxKrox Rises by Chris Fox:

The Godswar Has Come Again

Nebiat has seized godhood, and now controls Krox, the most powerful elder god in the sector. Both Ternus and Shaya know she is coming, but their preparations cannot save them. She launches a strike at Ternus that cripples their home world, and shatters their fleets.

Voria desperately struggles to find a way to raise Shaya, or to rise as a goddess herself. She will do anything to oppose Nebiat, but fears it will not be enough.

Aran must confront the awful truth about the Skull of Xal, and make a deal with demons in order to gain the strength they so desperately need to overcome Krox.

And Nara must face the most awful choice of all. Will she murder the woman she most respects, or let the sector burn?

Possibilities narrow. Krox Rises. Shaya will fall.

Prince for Sale by Caroline GibsonPrince for Sale by Caroline Gibson:

Sold into slavery, saved by love

Vell once was a powerful sorcerer and a prince of Otharn. With his father and brother at his side, worlds fell at his feet. Now, he is a slave, cast out by his father, sold, used and abused. His rebellious brother’s desperate attempt to save him is his only hope for freedom, but first, he must go to Earth in chains.

David Thomen, scientist, inventor, defender of Earth, is living a lonely life with his inventions. Responsible for opening the gateway from Earth to Otharn, he must come to terms with his role as Vell’s newest owner and navigate the powerful forces of the joined worlds, who all seem to have an interest in Vell’s fate.

Joined by a magical binding which forces them into an intimate relationship against both their wills, can Vell and David learn to trust each other, find a way to break their bonds, and preserve the alliance of the worlds?

Note to readers: This is an MM Romance book for a mature audience, it contains dubious consent, memories of past rape, as well as consensual sex scenes. No graphic violence, mild descriptions of injuries.

The Scythian Crisis by J.J. GreenThe Scythian Crisis by J.J. Green:

Humanity’s last stand.

An attack by unknown aliens has devastated the Nova Fortuna colony. Its long-term survival seems impossible. But the colonists aren’t going down without a fight.

Ethan must prepare the Gens for their final battle. Geneticist Cariad must decide whether to reactivate the sinister Guardians to aid in the colony’s defense.

Earth is lost. The new world settlers are without hope. When the moment to decide humanity’s fate arrives, will they be ready?

The Scythian Crisis is book three in the compelling, provocative space colonization epic adventure, Space Colony One.

Ruby Heart by Donna Maree HansonRuby Heart by Donna Maree Hanson:

A book of manners, magic and mayhem.

Jemima Hardcastle has a sad history. After her father was murdered by a secret society of magicians, her guardian and new heir to Willow Park, Edward Huntington, packed her off to boarding school. In the four years she was there, she never saw him again until she escaped from school to a house party and there he was. He did not recognise her and he even flirted with her.

A disastrous kiss, a murder and a stolen jewel herald dire happenings. Jemima is shipped off to Willow Park in the care of Fulton, Edward’s man, to be under the chaperonage of the odious Aunt Prudence and the meek cousin, Milly. While avoiding stitching in the evenings, she discovers Edward’s scientific genius and the artificial leg he made for Fulton. Her esteem for Edward rises and she is actually looking forward to seeing him again when he does not arrive as planned.

When they realise Edward is abducted, Jemima schemes to go in rescue. She has cunning and she has money and with these she plunges herself and her companions into the world of dark sorcery and London shopping.

In London, Jemima and Fulton lead a double life as they search for Edward in the slums, manufactureys and even a bawdy house. When she final discovers Edward, her life is on the line.

While a vicious and bloody fight for survival is going on around him, Edward has to choose between saving her life or unleashing the unholy, vampiric beast Geneck on an unsuspecting London.

The Starfighter Invitation by Andrea K. HöstThe Starfighter Invitation by Andrea K. Höst:

The only thing bigger than the world’s first full virtual reality game is the mystery surrounding its origins. Who is behind Ryzonart Games? How was such a huge advance in technology achieved? Taia de Haas loves having her own virtual spaceship, and wants nothing more than to visit every planet in the solar system. But she cannot ignore the question of whether such a magnificent gift comes with strings attached. Is the game a trick, a trap, a subtle invasion? Or an opportunity to step up and fight for her own planet? Caught in a tangle of riddles and lies, Taia can’t resist trying to win answers from Ryzonart’s mysterious administrators. But will finding the truth cost her the Singularity Game?

Eternal Darkness by Marc JohnsonEternal Darkness by Marc Johnson:

The wizard Hellsfire is dead. Hellsfire is now an ordinary mortal, weakened and powerless. But two people are seeking him out: one wants to save him and one wants revenge.

Bryce is seeking retribution for the slaughter of his family. Running his blade through Hellsfire is the only way to fill the empty hole in his heart. He failed before. He won’t fail again.

Eager to explore her blossoming powers, Alyssa receives a vision from the gods telling her to go to Hellsfire. He may be the only one who can teach her to harness her magic. With no family ties, she’s ready to leave the only home she’s ever known to rescue a man she barely knows.

Hellsfire still has a crucial role to play in the fate of the realm—if he survives and remembers who he is. Will he regain his powers and his sense of purpose before it’s too late?

Swordheart by T. KingfisherSwordheart by T. Kingfisher:

Return to the world of Clockwork Boys in this all-new novel from T. Kingfisher!

Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle’s estate… and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws… and the sword itself may prove to be the greatest threat of all…

The Megalodon Mix-Up by Amanda M. LeeThe Megalodon Mix-Up by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes’ life has taken a turn.

Not only is she working her dream job, but she’s also taken on a dreamy co-worker and is officially dating the office security chief.
Yeah, she’s still trying to wrap her head around it, too.

She doesn’t have much time because a high-profile incident in Florida means the team is on the hunt, and this time the likely culprit is none other than a prehistoric shark that’s been extinct for millions of years.

For Jack Hanson, the mere thought that a Megalodon is hunting the Gulf of Mexico waters is too much to bear. He’s on edge and irritated, and that’s on top of the fact that Legacy Foundation co-workers are starting to find out about his relationship with Charlie.

For her part, Charlie is enjoying herself. Not only is she looking for a giant shark, but she’s investigating in the middle of an author conference and the victim was the one person hated by absolutely everyone. She’s learning on the job … and it’s a tangled web of lies and intrigue to wade through.

There are suspects at every turn, blood in the water, and hungry sharks looking for a meal. It’s another fun-filled adventure, and the stakes in this one are graver than anybody anticipated.

Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space), edited by Catherine LundoffScourge of the Seas of Time (and Space), edited by Catherine Lundoff:

Think pirates are all about the rum and the pieces of eight? Let these fifteen tales draw you into the adventures of a new kind of pirate. Sail with them as they seek treasure, redemption, love, revenge and more. Raise the Jolly Roger and sharpen your cutlass (or recharge your raygun) and climb aboard for some unforgettable voyages. Featuring stories by Ginn Hale, A.J. Fitzwater, Geonn Cannon, Joyce Chng, Elliott Dunstan, Ashley Deng, Su Haddrell, Ed Grabianowski, Mharie West, Matisse Mozer, Soumya Sundar Mukherjee, Megan Arkenberg, Peter Golubock, Michael Merriam and Caroline Sciriha.

The Santa Claus of Mystic Springs by Mona MarpleThe Santa Claus of Mystic Springs by Mona Marple:

What if Father Christmas is on the naughty list?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Mystic Springs, but all is not still or calm with the department store Santa.

The amateur dramatics club is full of big egos and legends-in-their-own-heads, so their spats aren’t unusual. But when the theatre owner is shot dead during the Christmas play, it’s Santa who pulls the trigger.

With the arrival of an unwelcome ex, a petition to end Discrimination Against Spirits, and a second attack by St Nick, the chances of a quiet Christmas seem to be quickly disappearing.

Has Santa really gone bad? Or is there more to it?

Town medium Connie and her dead sister Sage are both avoiding their own festive conundrums. A mistletoe murder is just the distraction they need.

Phyllis Wong and the Vanishing Emeralds by Geoffrey McSkimmingPhyllis Wong and the Vanishing Emeralds by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong—that brilliant young magician and clever sleuth—happens upon a mystery from the past that has proved unsolvable, she knows she has to try to get to the bottom of it.

More than sixty years ago an astonishing emerald necklace owned by the famous pianist Isabella Beaufort seemingly vanished off the face of the earth! Ever since, the disappearance has stumped the police, detectives and those associated with the missing priceless jewels. How did the prized Flurtis Emeralds vanish? Where are they today? Is there any way they can be traced, after so many cobwebs have covered the case?

Another mysterious intrigue right up the alleyway of our favourite conjuring Transiter!

The sixth Phyllis Wong: Time Detective mystery.

Christmas in Silver Birch Valley by Lorri MoultonChristmas in Silver Birch Valley by Lorri Moulton:

A man spends the holidays in a small Northwestern town that may not be exactly what it seems…and rediscovers the true meaning of Christmas.

 

 

 

 

It's Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life, edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene JohnsonIt’s Alive: Bringing You Nightmares to Life, edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson:

Nightmares come to life in this comprehensive how-to guide for new and established authors…

Book two in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series picks up where the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Where Nightmares Come From: The Art Of Storytelling In The Horror Genre left off.

It’s Alive: Bringing your Nightmares to Life focuses on learning the craft in order to take your story from concept to completion.

With an introduction by Richard Chizmar and cover art by Luke Spooner. Featuring interior artwork from horror master Clive Barker!

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction by Richard Chizmar
  • Confessions of a Professional Day Dreamer by Jonathan Maberry
  • What is Writing and Why Write Horror by John Skipp
  • Tribal Layers by Gene O’Neill
  • Bake That Cake: One Writer’s Method by Joe R. Lansdale and Kasey Lansdale
  • Ah-Ha: Beginning to End with Chuck Palahniuk and Michael Bailey (Discussing the Spark of Creativity)
  • They Grow in the Shadows: Exploring the Roots of a Horror Story by Todd Keisling
  • Sell Your Script, Keep Your Soul and Beware of Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing by Paul Moore
  • The Cult of Constraint (or To Outline or Not) by Yvonne Navarro
  • Zombies, Ghosts and Vampires?Oh My! by Kelli Owen
  • The Many Faces of Horror: Craft Techniques by Richard Thomas
  • Giving Meaning to the Macabre by Rachel Autumn Deering
  • The Horror Writer’s Ultimate Toolbox by Tim Waggoner
  • Sarah Pinborough Interview by Marie O’Regan
  • Conveying Character by F. Paul Wilson
  • Sympathetic Characters Taste Better: Creating Empathy in Horror Fiction by Brian Kirk
  • Virtue & Villainy: The Importance of Character by Kealan Patrick Burke
  • How to write Descriptions in a story by Mercedes Yardley
  • “Don’t Look Now, There’s a Head in That Box!” She Ejaculated Loudly (or Creating Effective Dialogue in Horror Fiction) by Elizabeth Massie
  • Point of View by Lisa Mannetti
  • What Came First the Monster or the Plot? In Conversation with Stephen Graham Jones by Vince A. Liaguno
  • Building Suspense by David Wellington
  • Conveying Horror by Ramsey Campbell
  • Unveiling Theme Through Plot: An Analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” by Stephanie M. Wytovich
  • Interview with Clive Barker by Tim Chizmar
  • World Building (Building a terrifying world) by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Speak Up: The Writer’s Voice by Robert Ford
  • Writing for a Better World by Christopher Golden
  • Shaping the Ideas: Getting Things from Your Head to the Paper or on Screen. Interview with Steve Niles, Mick Garris, Heather Graham, Mark Savage, and Maria Alexander by Del Howison
  • On Research by Bev Vincent
  • Editing Through Fear: Cutting and Stitching Stories by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
  • Leaping into the Abyss by Greg Chapman
  • Edit Your Anthology in Your Basement for Fun and Profit! . . . or Not by Tom Monteleone
  • When It’s Their World: Writing for the Themed Anthology by Lisa Morton
  • Roundtable Interview by John Palisano
  • The Tale of the Perfect Submissions by Jess Landry
  • Turning the Next Page: Getting Started with the Business of Writing by James Chambers

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

Merry Happy Valkyrie by Tansy Rayner RobertsMerry Happy Valkyrie by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Norse myth and magic collides with a small town Tasmanian Christmas in this festive romantic fantasy!

Lief Fraser has mixed feelings about returning home to Matilda, the only Australian town where it always snows at Christmas. As a TV weather presenter, it’s her job to report on the strange holiday phenomenon… but as a local, it’s her duty to preserve Matilda’s many magical secrets.

Then pretty Audrey Astor rolls into town to shoot the ultimate romantic Australian Christmas movie with her film crew. Sparks fly, secrets unravel… and soon everyone will know exactly how Mt Valkyrie got its name.

“A sparkling holiday fantasy story full of deliciously fun characters and fabulous magic.” – Stephanie Burgis

Created for Christmas by Joynell SchultzCreated for Christmas by Joynell Schultz:

Need the perfect man? No problem—simply create him!

Ivy wanted nothing more for Christmas than to have someone to come home to…to have a companion to chat about her day with, and someone to show off at her family holiday celebrations.

This Christmas, she’s not going to be alone! Ivy decides to create her perfect companion at Dream Droids, the premier robotics company specializing in sentient humanoids. Ivy spends weeks with Dr. Pierce, creating her dream man, from his appearance, personality, and even his knowledge of her life.

There’s just a few problems: when a special gift she purchased for her father goes missing, and Dr. Pierce agrees to help her find it, she finds herself falling for him. After getting her heart stomped on by her ex-fiancé, there’s no way she can open it up again…besides, she just created the perfect man.

Finders by Melissa ScottFinders by Melissa Scott:

Cassilde Sam is a barely solvent salvage operator, hunting for relics in the ruins left by the mysterious Ancestors—particularly the color-coded Elements that power most of humanity’s current technology, including the ability to navigate through hyperspace. Cassilde is also steadily fading under the onslaught of Lightman’s, an incurable, inevitably fatal disease. She needs one last find big enough to leave a legacy for her partner and fellow salvor Dai Winter.

When their lover and former colleague Summerlad Ashe reappears, offering them a chance to salvage part of an orbiting palace that he claims contains potentially immense riches, Cassilde is desperate enough to take the gamble, even though Ashe had left them both to fight on the opposite side of the interplanetary war that only ended seven years ago. The find is everything Ashe promised. But when pirates attack the claim, Cassilde receives the rarest of the Ancestors’ Gifts: a change to her biochemistry that confers near-instant healing and seems to promise immortality.

But the change also drags her into an underworld where Gifts are traded in blood, and powerful Gifts bring equally powerful enemies. Hunted for her Gift and determined to find Gifts for her lovers, Cassilde discovers that an old enemy is searching for the greatest of the Ancestral artifacts: the power that the Ancestors created and were able to barely contain after it almost destroyed them, plunging humanity into the first Long Dark. Haunted by dream-visions of this power whispering its own version of what happened, Cassilde must find it first, before her enemy frees it to destroy her own civilization.

Death by Rosie ScottDeath by Rosie Scott:

Over the years of waging the War of Necromancers, Kai Sera has become known by many names. Mage of the Six Elements. Necromancer. God-Killer. Rebellion Leader. Liberator. War General. Goddess of Magic. Living Legend. Most importantly, Kai is the greatest asset of war that exists, and now her war is nearing its end.

Chairel is on the horizon. Kai’s home country has massive armies prepared to defend itself from her rebellion. Mortals and gods alike team up to put a stop to her intimidating advance, but Kai is not fazed. News of the final showdown brings unlikely supporters to Kai’s doorstep willing to bend their knee to her superior power, and her Seran Renegades collect the allies they’ve made over years of globe-trotting and war to face their foes head-on.

The greatest military in the world will come to a final bloody clash with the largest rebellion ever built. Both sides will suffer losses and heartbreak. The world and its occupants will be forever scarred. Kai started this war for political change and vengeance, and she will not relent until it is finished.

UnArcana Stars by Chris FoxUnarcana Stars by Glynn Stewart:

A humanitarian mission into unfriendly stars
A training cruise under the watch of a fortified fleet base
The closing jaws of a trap years in the making

It has been over a year since the UnArcana Worlds of the Protectorate of the Mage-King of Mars seceded, shattering the unity of the human race. The new Republic of Faith and Reason has raised new banners in defiance of the power of the Protectorate’s Mage aristocracy.

Now, Hand Damien Montgomery commands a relief mission to a Republic world ravaged by famine. His humanitarian mission collides with a newborn military beginning to flex its muscles–and a newborn nation prepared to accept no violations of its sovereignty, regardless of their needs.

Elsewhere, disaster strikes the Nia Kriti Fleet Base as an earthquake shatters their only communication with the rest of the Protectorate. Officer-in-training Roslyn Chambers is in the middle of the recovery effort when she realizes Nia Kriti is under attack.

The Republic is done with peace. They are coming for the Protectorate–and they will see the fleets of Mars break!

Elixirs and Elves by Astoria WrightElixirs and Elves by Astoria Wright:

The elves of Mount Vale are throwing a Christmas Party, and they’ve invited everyone! While the human residents of Moss Hill are excited to attend, many of the sidhe find the invitation beneath them. It’s no secret that they dislike mingling with non-faeries, but are they so hostile toward humans that one of them would commit murder? Carissa has never gotten along with the sidhe guard, but Varick of Vale has helped her on occasion. So, when he asks for her help after suspicion falls on him, it’s up to her to prove his innocence – if, that is, he isn’t guilty after all.

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